Counting our (Tech) Blessings

by on December 22, 2011 · 1 comment

Tis the season to be thankful for a great number of things — family, health, welfare, etc.  I certainly don’t mean to diminish the importance of those other things by suggesting that technological advances are on par with them, but I do think it is worth celebrating just how much better off we are because of the amazing innovations flowing from the information revolution and digital technology.  In my latest Forbes column, I cite ten such advances and couch them in an old fashion “kids-these-days” sort of rant.  My essay is entitled, “10 Things Our Kids Will Never Worry About Thanks to the Information Revolution,” and it itemizes some things that today’s digital generation will never experience or have to worry about thanks to the modern information revolution. They include: taking a typing class, buying an expensive set of encyclopedias, having to pay someone else to develop photographs, using a payphone or racking up a big “long-distance” bill, and six others.

Incidentally, this little piece has reminded me how Top 10 lists are the equivalent of oped magic and link bait heaven. People have a way of fixating on lists — Top 3, Top 5, Top 10, etc — unlike any other literary or rhetorical device. In fact, with roughly 80,000 views and over 900 retweets, I am quite certain that this is not only my most widely read Forbes column to date, but quite possibly the most widely read thing I have done in 20 years of policy writing.  Therefore, henceforth, every column I pen will be a “Top 10” list!  No, no, just kidding. But make no doubt about it, that little gimmick works. In fact, 4 of the top 5 columns on Forbes currently are lists.

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