There is a man – I don’t know his name – that comes to our local Starbucks every morning, pushing his walker with the tennis ball feet and flashing a gorgeous toothless smile.
He orders coffee. He finds a table and settles gingerly into his seat. And then he pulls out a newspaper and starts to read.
And he reads. And he reads. And he reads and reads until the paper finally surrenders, having nothing more to give, it’s pages creased and ink smudged.
The man smiles again, because he knows he has won. He has mastered this piece of technology, his daily ritual as much one of pride as it is of knowledge.
This should matter to those of us in the digital world for one simple reason: Because there are those of us who do not live in the digital world.
These people are not ignorant, not stubborn, not Luddites or purists. They are not old or insignificant.
Not everyone can afford the latest technology, nor should that ability be a prerequisite for access to news and information. Not everyone wants to be online or connected 24/7, nor should that behavior grant passage to broader understanding.
So the question is this – when the last newspaper comes off the press, and all the world’s news and ideas and hopes and dreams are atomized into lines of code, what do I tell the man in the coffee shop?