“Buy Focals”

File Under: You Heard it Here First

Over the years I’ve come up with a few “clever coinings” for phrases that capture some new aspect of our technology-enmeshed world. I swear I was the first person I knew to use the term “linkrot” to describe the broken links that invade Web pages. This was back in 1994, but by the time I got around to searching it, many people had been using the term. Most likely this was just the amplification of many minds engaged in a similar online reality so it’s no miracle that more than a few people more-or-less synchronously come up with the same idea. Sort of the typing monkeys coming up with Hamlet’s “To be” sollioquy – given enough monkeys…

Linkrot was followed by a few concepts:

A New 3Rs: instead of Reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic – learning in the Web era should be “Real, Rich and Relevant.”

The New WWW – Whatever, Whenever, Wherever: This is the mobile Web, but with a particular understanding. I published an article on it in Educational Leadership in 2005. The main point being that such pervasive access of immediate gratification – especially for children and teenagers – was that the “Whatever” aspect was not voiced in amazement, but the apathetic “whatever” so often heard by teens and immortalized in the Nirvana lyric: “Oh well, whatever, nevermind.”

Along these lines I also spoke sometimes about “Jiminy Click-it” that little voice of conscience that can’t be heard over the siren song of the New WWW.

Around the era of the invasion of Iraq, mobile phones were becoming more ubiquitous and I referred to them as the most lethal WMD – Weapon of Mass Distraction. And for the past couple years I have posed the question about youth and their digitally connected gadgets: “What do we expect when they are left to their own devices?”

Which brings us to the point of this post (no, it’s not for you to pity my monkey-mind obsession with coining new phrases). I want to (finally) go down on record as the first one to refer to Google Glasses as “Buy Focals.”

The Google Glass Project video points out how utterly helpful these cool specs will be, but, of course, their real intent is to support ubiquitous consumption and know what you want before you do.

Nothing wrong with that – who wants lame search results? But the developed world’s penchant for purchasing could be questioned on an individual basis. Will this happen? How quickly have “smart” phones become pervasive? And isn’t 24/7 access to Facebook and Angry Birds what makes phones so amazing? Such “must haves?”

Then again, I’m the weirdo with no TV or game console in the house (but tons of favorite Web sites, podcasts and apps). Alvin Tofler in Future Shock said that one of the hallmarks of the future (read: “where we are now”) would be that anything would be available for us to choose from – I don’t think he expected us to want it all!

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