The big papers have been focusing on consumer technology a lot recently. The iPhone, Facebook, the ill-fated launch of Cuil. Sure, it’s The New York Times. General audience. I get that.
But still, there must be more to computers than friend lists and monthly data plans, right?
Hey, don’t try to tell John McCain that. Or anybody participating in the latest debate over whether it matters that McCain can’t use what Larry the Cable Guy would call a “come-poo-ter.”
The New York Times did weigh in yesterday, laying down a fair examination of whether it does matter. But the major problem with this debate is where the touchstones have been placed. Consensus seems to be that McCain is computer-savvy if he uses Facebook, MySpace, e-mail and Twitter.
Frankly, I don’t want a president who Twitters, but that’s beyond the point.
The major problem with this discussion is that computer has been defined as “social networking.” We shouldn’t care if McCain can best us at whatever version of Scrabble hit Facebook this week. We should be asking that our next president understand the IT outsourcing industry, H-1B visas and the concept of green computing.
This is not to downplay the importance or forward motion of social networking. If Barack Obama finds Facebook a useful tool to distribute his message and raise funds, then so be it. Good for him.
But where does the computing industry fit into his energy profile?
Of course, these topics are boring. At least to the general population. Besides, taking up H-1Bs in the greater presidential debate would require McCain, Obama, their staffs and the media to understand them in the first place.
Maybe they should all stick to Facebook.