Aug 5, 2008

RE: "Hail to the Twitterer"

In response to: “Hail to the Twitterer” (NYT; August 3, 2008).

A candidate’s mastery of new digital technology should be of less concern than the level of intellectual curiosity they exhibit about how the world is changing.

Just as engaged parents need not experiment with drugs or anorexia or unsafe anonymous sex in order to help their children navigate to maturity, I could care less whether John McCain blogs or blathers online. What we should pay attention to, however, is a senior leader’s intellectual curiosity and engagement with the world around us.

And technology continues to profoundly affect our world and our country in ways both hopeful and despairing. From international criminals like Al Qaida building effective global organizations on the back of digital networking, to gaming systems that let twelve year olds in Enid, Oklahoma play live with teens in Vietnam, it’s alarming that a major candidate like McCain continues to exhibit the digital equivalent of a blank stare.

The long-ago dust-up around George H.W. Bush’s odd delight in the wonders of scanning technology was not that he had never used a scanner. It was that he really didn’t understand the world around him.

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