trust & technology – a story about AT&T

Did you ever think what it takes to turn on a light in your house? You walk into a room, flip the light switch and magically the light in the center of the room comes on…WOW. Think about the centuries of innovation and the many miles of connectivity from the house to the grid. How does this happen? How long did it take for us to trust the fact that flipping a switch in a wall will turn a light on about the room.

This morning, I woke up and walked to the front porch where the wife was on the phone with her sister in Charleston. I noticed she was irritated and as soon as I open the front glass door…I learned every quickly. Her cell phone conversation had stopped, and started over and over because of some dropped calls.

It was time to get on the phone with AT&T. So I went to get my iPhone and noticed that my visual voicemail was not working. I dialed the phone number for AT&T and after navigating thru the menu system, I am speaking with a very nice lady. I was actually thinking, this lady has a nice pleasant voice…then halfway thru explaining my issue, the phone call dropped. BLAH

Now it is time to go grab the land line to call AT&T. Note…we just added this land line a month ago after being completely dependent on mobile service for three years. So I call the 1800 number and reached another nice, pleasant voice with AT&T. Pleasant helpful voices are nice. After explaining my issue…I was off to be transferred to a technical support representative.

****I realize this is a timeline of events…I will get to the point of this post****

My new technical support friend told me of some Voice Network Issues in SC & NC. He also told me that they (AT&T) are in the process of upgrading the 3G service in Clemson and Anderson, to expand the service beyond the Clemson area. He also explained that the voice service works off of a completely different tower than the data service. WOW. It take multiple towers to provide one phone multiple services in just one location, we have not even began to talk about moving from one location to the next.

As my AT&T technical friend was sifting thru my account, where our phones are connected, and diagnosing our tower issues…he made a statement that made me think. He told me that we really TRUST technology to do what it is supposed to do, that when we flip the light switch we TRUST that it will turn on. We do not think about the technology necessary to turn that light on to brighten a room. Think about the amount of TRUST we have when we dial a phone call while driving down the road on a cell phone. The technology to connect that one phone, in a car, while driving down the road at 65 mph to someone in a completely different zip-code. We really TRUST technology.

Has our TRUST continuum for technology shortened each time we accept a new technology? Or do we even realize that we might not trust a technology…we merely do not recognize a technology is not working and check later when it is back up and running again. How long did it take for us as a society to trust that electricity is going to provide the energy necessary to luminate a room. How long did it take for us as a society to trust cell phone calling as a technology as motorola made the first successful call in the late 60’s. How long did it take for us to trust that we could connect to the Internet via a mobile device? Is there really a situation that makes us distrust a service provider like AT&T, that makes us switch providers to experience the same issues with the next provider because the technology is just technology.

HMM…well, I know this: I may pay a lot of money each month to AT&T to provide a service, but I am still amazed that I can talk to my mom while driving down the road at 85 mph in SC and she is driving down the road at 85 mph in another state. Technology is kind of cool.

Digital Literacy – A New World Order

I met with a very cool guy this afternoon as he was working with our group to do some updates on his site: http://digitalliteracyconference.com – his name is Bill Sheskey of Sheskey Learning Solutions.

We started talking about social media, finding new ways to build a tribe/ecosystem around your “cause”. What I found it that he is just as passionate about how we empower and educate “our future” with the skills necessary to be competitive in tomorrow’s workforce…to become the leaders of our tomorrow.

It is more than just writing a book report, a paper, or even a proposal. It has become, how do we use digital literacy to tell stories through visual communication, digital communication, sounds, etc.

I had a breakfast meeting this morning with Dr. Victor Vitanza who heads up the PhD Program at Clemson for Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design. He was talking about some of the PhD Candidates are creating dissertations that bring writing, art, video, and design in one paradigm to illustrate points and build a argument.

I teach a Business Writing Class at Clemson (ENGL 304) and I teach it from an entrepreneurial spin using digital communication tools. The new professional that will come out of the K-12 and collegiate education tracks are embarking on a whole new journey with a set of skills that are far more advanced when it comes to communication.

I think about my sister-in-law who is a student at the College of Charleston, and I sit and watch here multi-task in-front of her laptop. She is surfing the web, watching video on YouTube, listening to music, updating Facebook, while writing a paper for class. The new student is a multitasking student with digital skills that far surpass where I was when I was her age.

Has digital literacy brought to the surface attention span issues that were normally suppressed before this brave new Internet World? What does this mean…or are we having to evolve with the communication strategies of tomorrow?

It is the new world order…how can we continue to empower our students for tomorrows careers, today? How can we continue to reform our educational system to push digital literacy to the next frontier? I don’t know…I guess I am asking myself?