Tuesday, November 04, 2008

How Voting Today Skewed Me
millenial meaning-making, technology & community organizing

We went as a family this morning to vote shortly after the polls opened at 7:00am.Once there we encountered a line of maybe 50 people, snaking it's way through the school hallway. Of the 50 people, probably 6-9 children were also there: playing in the Obama Baby T-shirts, coming to watch their parents vote, participating in order to learn about democracy in action. While there I was struck by several things that point to some of the deep (and already made) transformations of our society, culture and means of communication/organization:

1. Our kids played video games on our phones while they waited.

2. Half a dozen people were doing what I was doing while waiting in line: updating their facebook pages, and twittering.

3. Three people were taking pictures (along with me) of the line - to blog with, or something else.

4. The woman behind me kept calling friends of hers on her cell phone. Each person she called seemed to have a background in a particular area of expertise (Water District, Schools, etc.) She would ask them how to vote. Talk about swaying last minutes deciders in an election.

5. Folks were all excited, talkative, happy to be waiting in a long line so early in the morning.

6. No one checked ids of those that are voting (I think it's because our precinct workers know everyone personally).

7. I had to park far away (ok 2 blocks - super far for our precinct!) in order to vote because so many people were there.

8. We celebrated our post-voting with a family breakfast at Peet's in the Dimond and La Farine. About 30 other people had the same idea with about 10 kids there, wearing "I Voted" stickers, and obviously going to school late.

I'm stuck by something I heard on Talk of the Nation yesterday [listen to the podcast here of A Grown Up Digital Generation] featuring Don Tapscott writer of Grown Up Digital. He pointed to the revolutionary ways that technology, online social networking, blogging, etc. have already transformed the way we talk, communicate, think and organize/relate to one another. Our entire society (economy, educational insitutions, political system and faith communities) have to adjust, adapt, and transform to this new way of thinking, speaking, organizing and relating that is potentially predominant in the Millennial Generation (those under 30) and also beyond.

I felt like I experienced a lot of what was lifted up in that radio discussion while voting this morning. The church I serve and work with is not functioning in this way. Most communities of faith I know aren't either. Yet our children, colleagues and neighbors are functioning and thriving as grown up digital-folks. Is this a world-view shift? Is this the end of an era in our culture and maybe in the world? Is this an apocalyptic foretaste of the end of days? Is this the dawn of a new chance to live, work and thrive together? Obviously the Obama efforts taped into this more than McCain in the amazing ways that his website empowered not just voting, but organizing via the website. Bruce Reyes-Chow is a pastor of the Presbyterian Church to which I belong as pastor. He too has plugged into this monumental cultural shift [Bruce's Blog]. It's not something that may happen. It already has. How are the communities you're a part of responding to it? Are they even responding?


Oz said...

Our current digital age is an interesting one. Though I'm young, I'm old enough to remember times what were. I didn't Twitter in the 2004 election. I didn't even know what Facebook was. I was lucky to have a digital camera but never dreamed to take pictures of the process.

Its amazing whats happened just in 4 years. But I like whats happened. A lot of people fear that this new digital front that integrates itself in everyone's lives will further detach ourselves from ourselves. I don't deny that that isn't a risk, but I truly believe it brings more of us closer together.

This blog is standing proof.

Monte said...

thanks oz. the changes are amazing. so revolutionarily rapid that i think we don't even really measure how much we're impacted day by day

Oz said...

Speaking of Twitter, are you on it? Have you been sucked in? It'd be great to get a neighborhoodie on my follow list. :)

Monte said...

yes i'm on twitter... under 'monteskewed'

look for me....or email me your address and I'll find you


looking forward to more online connections