The power of consultancy to make even seasoned journalists start talking in meaningless managementspeak never ceases to amaze. You’d think that speaking-in-English would be the obvious way for journalists to differentiate themselves in this market. I guess not.
Can we please have a moratorium on beautiful women saying “math is hard”? I simply can’t imagine someone like Ashton Kutcher saying something like this. Never mind the fact that it’s horrible from a role-model perspective, it’s just plain annoying.
“OK, the idea that kids these days are “digital natives” is a nice, self-serving fairy tale. It makes tech-lovers feel good, because they feel like they are at the front of a curve. It makes educators feel good, because then they don’t have to teach a complicated and multi-level sets of skills and knowledges that they don’t have a strong grasp on themselves. It makes government types feel good because they don’t need to devote resources to it. It makes the kids feel special, and kids need that. The problem is, of course, that it’s pretty much false — saying kids are “digital natives” because they can text, send email, and use facebook (all services provided by profit-driven companies, who love this false paradigm as well), is like claiming that kids these days are all automotive engineers because they have driver’s licenses. I teach freshmen. Most of them have the barest idea of how to use the Internet except for simple, pre-packaged tasks. They have little concept of wider issues, like selecting a tool outside of their very limited set of daily resources, dealing with privacy (which they care very much about, but don’t have the understanding to guess how to deal with it), or asking questions about the purpose of the technology. And these are the reasonably well-off kids who have had access to the web for most of their lives. Students from less advantaged backgrounds have greater hurdles. So, yeah, forget this idea of “digital natives.” Now, a library could help them get closer to that ideal, but we are busy closing the libraries becaue the “digital natives” don’t need them. And who, I wonder, benefits from a large mass of people who can’t do anything except what the tools they are sold let them?”
- FINGAL: Do you have any documentation of that, like notes from your trip?
- D’AGATA: You’re asking for evidence of a rumor?
- FINGAL: If you’re saying that there was a rumor, I have to find out whether there was in fact a rumor, even if I ignore the truth value of the rumor. Do you remember the name of the company that ran the tour?
- D’AGATA: Are you serious? No, I don’t remember the name of a tour company from more than fifteen years ago. Sorry, readers are going to have to feel factually unfulfilled here.
- FINGAL: Then what about the notes you took during that trip?
- D’AGATA: In 1994 I was a sophomore in college, studying Latin and Greek—not writing—and on vacation with my grandparents. We were going to Hoover Dam on a thousand-hour bus trip through the desert without any air-conditioning. No notes were being taken, Jim.
your interest in BankSimple. We are currently in a closed beta as we
await final approval from our banking partner. While we’d love to share
our product with you today we need to ensure that we comply with the
litany of banking regulation and that all of our deposits are FDIC insured.
Your early interest has placed you toward the top of the queue and we
hope to have you on board soon.” —The email I got from Simple’s Josh Reich on February 8, 2010 — two years ago today. I’m sure that if I asked him today, he’d give me the same answer, that he hopes to have me on board “soon”.