It's true: the most powerful man in the Western World doesn't know how to operate an iPod, an iPad
, an Xbox or a PlayStation. At a graduation commencement ceremony today at Hampton University in Virginia, U.S. President Barack Obama stated the following: "With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation."
The quote was obviously part of a larger point, that the information overload world in which we live can often become more of a burden than something empowering. He also noted that "some of the craziest claims can quickly claim traction," and told students that they were "coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank all that high on the truth meter."
He claimed that these gadgets and these various pressures were "not only putting new pressures on you, it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy." We tend to agree somewhat. Gadgets, and the connected social environment in which we live, can be fun. Having a smartphone and a constant connection to the Internet can be extremely helpful in certain circumstances. But it can also act as a ball-and-chain, holding you down and refusing to let you break away to just breathe, and live your life.
But as weird as it is to think that the man elected President of the United States can't even operate an iPod
, we're glad he's spending his time focusing on more important matters and not at the local Genius Bar.