Reflections on Living in a Tech BubbleJennifer James
On Monday after returning from a weekend in New York City on business I quickly grabbed a cab at the airport to take me home. It was an early morning and I was definitely ready to get back to work in familiar surroundings.
The cab driver, a woman probably in her mid-40s with a full face of makeup at such an early hour, immediately dove into customary early morning chit chat.
“Where are you coming from?” she asked more because she thought she had to than because she cared. “Did you have a nice flight?”
I answered her cordially, sank into the seat, straightened my skirt, and quickly pulled out my iPad so I could scan my inboxes on the 30-minute ride home.
After driving awhile she told me she needed to stop for gas which I thought a bit odd, but because I know things happen, I paid it little attention. I kept reading emails and doing research for a new article I was writing about maternal health. I didn’t realize it at the time, but she noticed I was using an iPad surfing and swiping away.
When she got back into the car she gingerly put the car in drive, pulled off and asked shyly, “Is that an iPad?”
I looked up briefly still keeping my eye on the data chart I was reading.
“Yes,” I replied.
“Can you get the Internet?” she quizzed.
“Yes,” I said and then returned to my reading.
We sat in silence until I told her the correct exit to take me home.
It wasn’t until today – a full four days later – that it dawned on me how much of a bubble I live in as someone in tech. The iPad is an everyday tool I use in my work and for pleasure. I rarely keep it fully charged and leave it here and there like a spiral paper notebook, but to my cab driver it was tech product of great mystery and to her she probably thinks it is unattainable.
My quick ride in a cab this week reminded me that everyone doesn’t have access to the latest and greatest “i” this or “i” that or own a smartphone that will allow them to tweet, update their Facebook page, post pics with filters on Instagram, or log where in the world they are. Many people don’t know the first thing about the latest technology or would even deem it worth the cost.
How big of a bubble do we live in?