Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
September 7, 2012 8:53 PM

Everything Digital

Why isn't everything digital?

When I think like this, I'm quite certain it freaks the mass majority out. But, here's the thing...

  • Every time I handle cash (coins or paper).
  • Every time I take out a credit card.
  • Every time an airline won't let me check-in online.
  • Every time I see a doctor and they write something down in a file.
  • Every time I fill out a form.
  • Every time I vote.
  • Every time I have to put money into a parking meter.
  • Every time I have to run back downstairs to shut some lights.
  • Every time I pick up a newspaper.
  • Every time I have to order food by telephone.
  • Every time I have to call a customer service line.
  • Every time I have to wait in line for something.
  • Every time I have to call down to the hotel lobby.
  • Every time I see someone buying a big book.

I ask myself, "why isn't everything digital?"

Some of it is. When the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson came out, I had pre-ordered it from Amazon via Kindle. It was delivered at midnight and I dove right it, by starting to read it on my iPhone with the Kindle app. I thought I would eventually use my Kindle device or the app on the iPad, but I was so enthralled with the writing, that the iPhone version best suited my need to grab a paragraph or two at any open opportunity throughout my day. Within a week, I had finished it. A few days after completing the book, I found myself in an airport book store with an individual who was buying the Steve Jobs book in hardcover. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I had no idea how many pages the book was and I had no idea how big it was. I could hardly believe that I had read all of that text on my iPhone (that's some serious thumb swiping). At the same time, I realized that had I seen the book and bought it, it would still be sitting on my bookshelf. I would need to carve out the time to pick up that book and there is no way I would travel with any book that had that kind of mass to it.

What once filled my study walls now lies in the palm of my hand.

I love books. I love reading. Probably more than most people. I love paper. I love book stores. I love magazines. I love magazine stores, but I can't imagine ever buying any of that content any other way but digital. That sense of being spoiled by technology now leaks into everything I encounter. Call me lazy, but having this glimpse into a digital world has made me thirsty for more. Much more. I walk through my typical airport and hotel experience thinking that the majority of things that slow us down could be handled so much better with more digital and more technology.

I worry about being hacked. 

If we can't get the security right, this is all for nothing. If we can get to the point where the security is tight enough to make everything stable, it's going to be an incredible time. Right now, this all still early days. So, while we still marvel each and every time we pick up our iPhones and Android devices, I simply can't wait until everything is there at my beck and call. Yes, medical records, access to information, the ability to make the simpler tasks even simpler, and the ability to make the more complex things that much more tolerable.

I say this: digital... bring it on. Make everything digital.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Kent
    Mitch Joel

    We can make everything goes digital if we do it right. Not all this should go digital. One thing for sure is face to face meeting is always better than meet digitally. The feel is totally different.

    Reply
  • Posted by Rebecca Caroe
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch, I'm moving house to a smaller property. Here's my challenge - should I get rid of my much-loved books?
    My husband's digitised his CD collection; we have DVDs that we haven't worked out yet how to digitise (without 'ripping' them).
    I love books, I also read e-books much as you describe above.
    BUT you can't lend out a digital book because it's tied to your kindle device which is a shame because I like to buy books and give them as gifts - you can only buy a kindle gift certificate and hope the recipient gets the book you wanted to give them.

    Should I sell my books. Or should I mostly buy electronic books from now on and just not add to my library?
    Dilemma.....

    Reply
  • Posted by Debby Bruck
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch ~ A tremendous number of benefits and conveniences to going digital. You've mentioned the potential problems with hacking, and Rebecca listed a few downsides to not being able to pass along the gift of a book to a friend. Pros and cons to every medium, and its lovely to have a hard copy as a different experience. I believe the brain relates to the paper page differently than to a digital screen, as well. Therefore, a blend of media may be appropriate at different stages and for a variety of reasons. Blessings, Debby

    Reply
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