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Among the Luddites

Ned Ludd Lives

Ned Ludd Lives!

Once in a while the term Luddite enters the conversation. We who presume ourselves to be on the cutting edge all things social and techie are occasionally floored by a remark or observation from a Luddite – or neo-luddite, or as I referred to them in a 2010 post, Luddite 2.0, a term coined my friend and deep thinker, Bill Wendel.  I have worked hard  since I wrote that post to avoid the Luddite mantle, and I can hold my own with most of the Gen-X, Y, Z or whatever Gen folks I encounter, because, as Brian Solis points out  Generation-C transcends age.  And that C is about being Connected.

TechCamp Memphis (5/12/2010) featured some of the area’s best minds in  social media, internet marketing and strategy, and an array of developer specialties.  I will admit that the developer stuff is way beyond me, but a big part of being Generation- C is having a good handle on just how much you want to be connected.     One attendee told me that her co-workers are not only not “connected”, but they don’t do very well un-connected either. “Most of them don’t know how to create a folder in Windows to put their files into.”  I wondered later if she was talking about electronic files or paper files.  I see that type of thing in my business a lot: “No, I don’t have a scanner; I’ll just bring you the contract.”  These are probably the same folks who fear the internet because someone might grab their private information; who find it easier to say NO to social media, Google, and in some cases email, rather than looking into how those things could possibly enhance their lives and make lots of things easier for them.  Having adopted the use of the telephone, they still carry pagers. Luddites 2.0.

Remember studying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in Sociology 101?  Look at how closely the upper 2 levels (and possibly 3) of the pyramid reflect what most of us are accomplishing, in a large part, online today through being connected.

Maslow's_Hierarchy_of_Needs

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

I am not saying that’s good or bad, but think about it.  Once you are there can you go back?  Can you give up that connection?  Do you see a day when technology will evolve to the point that you will draw a line in the sand and say, “I’m a Luddite now.”?

-Images via http://en.wikipedia.org

Sometimes I think the Luddites have a point

Rage Against the Machine

According to Wikipedia,  the Luddites were a group of 19th-century English textile artisans who protested against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, which they felt were leaving them without work and changing their way of life.  They could get wild at times, sabotaging  and destroying the looms and machinery that displaced them.  The movement was named after General Ned Ludd or King Ludd, a mythical figure who, like Robin Hood, was reputed to live in Sherwood Forest.

The Luddite movement has continued in various forms right into the present.  And some lots of days I can really relate.  Like when I wake to 541 items in my Google Reader, scores of important Tweets from close friends, 2 or 3 screens of emails,  and scores of irresistible updates on my Facebook home screen.  And then the phone starts ringing.  We love our electronic toys.  Toddlers can manipulate iPads;  Baby Boomers, challenged for years with programming their VCRs, are texting before breakfast.  Grandma is Skyping with her grand children.  Everyone is a geek and/or a social media guru.  Millions of us have become homemade journalists, posting our wittiness and brilliance to our blogs for all the world to see.  We’ve got to keep up with all, because if we don’t,  we shall perish.  …Or not.   Continue reading

Uh, just checking in… Foursquare ever make you just a little paranoid?

Back when when I first started hearing about GPS, I began to fear the implications of global positioning.  Being a closeted Luddite 2.0,  I foresaw the implications of a machine that, with the help of a group of satellites, could pinpoint my position on this big planet down to one meter.  Considering the evolution of modern warfare, I lay awake many nights contemplating being obliterated by some disgruntled military guy  calling in a rocket strike on my house bed.

Fast forward to a few days ago, quietly sitting in Otherlands, sipping coffee, writing, editing some pictures…….  Suddenly there  is a big lens in my face, and a female voice calling my name.   Just as frightening as a missile attack – I have been stalked with FourSquare.  A local TV station singled me out to feature in a story about potential personal security issues for folks who like to “check-in”. So this crew videoed me through the window for a while, then surprised me at my table while my head was buried in my laptop.  Could have just as easily been a drone missile coming through the window.

Here is the report that aired:

SoI am not going to do any preaching about using Foursquare, or “checking-in” in general, competing for mayorships, or  sharing the minute details of your life online with those who might care.  The deputy in the video pretty much covers the other side of the coin.  I guess Monopoly IS a much safer game.

What do you think?  Is it good safe fun?  Do people really want to know where you are?  Do you fear missile strikes or burglaries?  Have you ever completed a Monopoly game?
Bonus question:  What’s the weirdest place you are mayor of?  One more funeral and I will be mayor of Memorial Park if some undertaker doesn’t get the edge on me.

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