Today we heard that, because of possible problems caused by transparency laws and security issues, Barack Obama — a textbook “functioning techie” — may have to go cold turkey, giving up emails in general and quite possibly his BlackBerry.
Now, however much some people might want me to be, I am not the president elect of the United States of America. I do not have to juggle a hundred things at once or ensure that I am briefed on everything from the name of the Queen of England’s favourite corgi to which button to press if someone annoys me a bit. Difficult decisions are not mine to make, or if they are the only lives that depend on it are purely fictional. Granted, I have many people — friends and acquaintances — that I like to keep up with, and, of course, many, many subjects interest me. Nonetheless it is fairly safe to say that the benefits that Barack Obama probably sees from using his BlackBerry/emailing/etc quite possibly far outweigh the benefits that I experience.
But I would not wish to give up the benefits I do receive from these wonderful (yes, I said wonderful!) technological developments — in the name of transparency or anything else (well, yes, all right, maybe personal security would persuade me, but you know what I mean.)
It seems quite bizarre that Obama will possibly be the first US president to have a laptop on his desk. Apart from Bill Clinton, of course, but that wasn’t quite the same thing. Yes, there are the inevitable dangers from hackers and so on and so forth. But surely that’s like telling the president he can’t eat pretzels because he might choke. Like that’s going to happen, right?
The world we live in is increasingly influenced by the electronic media. TV, Internet, email, weblogs, Twitter, Facebook — something new pops up every day (and, no, that’s not a reference to porn sites.) Let the president have his YouTube, Instant Messenger or whatever the hell else he wants, I say. I’d far rather have a tech-savvy US President who understands the world he lives in than a bumbling, technophobic idiot.