Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Time is on my wrist

Granddaughter Emma thinks it’s weird that my technology-laden car has an analog clock in the dashboard. Of course, at age 13, she finds a good many things weird that seem perfectly normal to me…and vice versa. She is so of the digital age that she actually has to concentrate to read the clock, primarily because it has little dashes instead of numbers on its face.

This reminds me of a communications conference I attended a couple of years ago. One of the general sessions was on the now-perennial topic of communicating with younger workers. They do communicate differently, these millennials, Gen Y’s and now Gen Z’s. (Should I worry that we’ve used all the letters?)

The speaker asked the audience members to raise a hand if they were wearing a wristwatch. A couple hundred people in the ballroom; about one-fourth put a hand up. Then he asked everyone over the age of 25 to put their hands down. Five or six hands remained in the air. The message? A cool watch may make a great accessory, but it just seems silly to young professionals to haul around a device that performs just one function – telling the time – when a smart phone or tablet can do that and so much more. And who goes anywhere without their phone?

Now my phone probably isn’t as smart as yours. But it still puts more computing power in my pocket than it took to put a man on the moon, which makes it all the more embarrassing when I butt-dial a client from one of the grandkids’ sporting events.

My less-than-smart phone can take pictures and video, browse the Internet, store and play music and perform lots of other functions … or so I’ve been told. I mostly use it to talk and text. I prefer to surf the web on my laptop. My digital cameras work just fine. I like the way my iPod works. So I guess that makes me a single-function kind of guy. Sometimes I even wear a watch.