Archives For iPad

I don’t have an iPad.  They are super-freak cool, don’t get me wrong.  But up until today they have seemed to be primarily designed as amazingly slick individual entertainment devices – at a pricepoint I can’t justify just yet.

But today I ran into this… Apparently the hipsters and techno-files are all a-flutter over a new iPad App called Flipboard.  I’m a little Twitterpated myself…

Flipboard bills itself as “Your own personalized social magazine.”  Drawing content from your friend networks on social media sites like Facebook an Twitter, its content is updated constantly and presented in a magazine publication design format.  Brilliant.  Custom content + social interaction.  This is the new interwebs, people!  Web 2.0 leaves isolation behind and trades it in for a shiny new “connected” experience where personalization and interactivity trump static content.

This is a big deal.  This is not your father’s internet… wait… your father’s internet was called “books.”  Too far back.  Um… this is not your older brother’s internet.  In other words, we have seen a tectonic shift in the way the internet functions.  This is a whole new era.  We need to change our thinking…

Bottom line:  the first decade and a half of the internet’s rise to prominence was marked by a presentational model of communication, developed and based in the linear paper-and-ink style.  Email, and most websites viewed by the general public, were set up in this way.  You would visit a site address and read what was presented to you.  Businesses set up their web sites like digital magazine ads.  Presentation.  As if what was on the screen was simply a digital reproduction of what we could just as well read or view on paper.

Visit any prominent organization or business’s website today and what do you find?  “Follow us on Twitter.  Join our fan page on Facebook.  15% Foursquare discount if you check in on site.  Check out our blog page…”

Interactive.  Personalized.  Communal.  Digital community.  So goes the web.

As a church leader, I see huge upside to being “connected.”  I see huge upside to making our church websites interactive… to harnessing the digital space on Facebook and Twitter to keep community interacting between weekend services or Tuesday night Bible study groups.

I get excited about a day when I open my Flipbook on my very own iPad, and it is filled with pictures, videos, and status updates from my church family…  links to articles they are reading, and threads of conversation about what has captured their attention this week.  I mean, we do that already, communicating with our tribe on Twitter and Facebook.  But I see the integration of connection, technology, and everyday life becoming more and more the norm.  Flipboard is representative of this change.  Connection is coming to us now.  Smart-phones an laptops and iPads make it possible (if you want to) to stay connected to a digital community from almost anywhere, at almost any time.

Of course, there are some dangers that accompany this new interconnected “life-streaming” technology.  Such is the case with EVERY technology.  The printing press first mass produced God’s word.  It also produced pornography.  Films like “Schindler’s List” inspire deep and important thoughts about life and faith.  But the same technology can be used to produce vile, life-sucking content.  Every technological advance comes with an upside, and its very own dangers.

As a part of the Church, I want to help embrace and harness the upsides of this social-media inter-connection for greater community and greater Kingdom impact.  We are God’s agents of redemption.  Let’s take that calling into digital culture and be a connected presence online, representing our King with humility, conviction, and honor.

Sure, I could just sit by myself watching Transformers 2 on a new iPad…  But apps like Flipboard remind me that there is far more value in “connection” that in “isolated distraction.”  Web 2.0, I say bring it on.

    

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“flipbook + ipad = yes :: connection is the new isolation” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

NEW Apple iPad unveiled today.  Here’s the promotional video from Apple:

Gadgets are a great distraction for the securely planted and the financially well-endowed.  As I am deeply happy but do not fit either of the above criteria, I’m just going to say this out loud…

I don’t want an iPad.

Now, just a minute.  Let’s say you had some inside hook-up with a guy at Apple, and you were currently in the middle of wrapping up a new iPad with my name on it, and you felt like a sandwich, so you turned to go toward the fridge when you saw your laptop and decided to check your email, only to be distracted by your RSS reader, in which you saw my blog had been updated, and you are just now reading this and are planning to return said iPad with my name on it… Don’t.  It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.  Right up there with the birth of my children and the Hubble Telescope.

But lack of money realigns a person’s priorities.  Sure, receiving a free iPad in the mail would make me either blink repeatedly and vibrate in place or squeal like a third grade girl.  But God is allowing a season of stretched finances and refocused attention on what matters.  Family.  Time together.  Faith.  Purpose.  Having less in the bank means more dependence on God, and more contentment with less of the frivolous.

Even as I type, I recognize the “Americanization” of my viewpoint.  I’m wildly, abundantly, unbelievably rich by much the world’s standards.  Roof?  Check.  Meals?  Check.  Clean water?  Check.  Kids have a Wii?  Check.  Even though we stopped trying to keep up with the Jones family a long time ago, I’m grateful.  Just short on disposable income in this season.

So, Apple, here’s what I think about your latest iDoo-Haw…  I think it’s genius, beautiful, and truly revolutionary.  I think you will succeed in pioneering a whole new tier of gadgetry – filling the void between laptops and smart phones.  I believe everyone in America will soon see the “need” for (at least) one of these.  I believe they will fill school classrooms in the not-so-distant future.  I believe that I can hear the whoosh of intellectual energy being sucked further into the digital hinterland.

Because the iPad is perfect for individual entertainment.  Nice big screen – for one person.  Great for reading books, playing games, surfing the web, managing email – by yourself.  All beautiful, smooth, intuitive, and accommodating the individual.  It’s like a perfectly designed “leave me alone” machine.

Honestly, it’s more than the cold, hard fact that we can’t afford a new gadget right now that is making me eschew my normal Pavlovian response to cool techno-gadgetry.  It’s the fact that living tight on funds has changed my priorities.  I’ve enjoyed coffee more lately.  Savored it.  I like simple, real moments.  I enjoy wrestling my boys more.  Being home.  As I spend more time on side jobs to pay the bills, my “off” time is more precious.  I’m watching fewer movies.  I’ve given up novels (except on vacation… gotta have a book by the pool!).  And although the iPad legitimately may be the coolest advance in gadgetry in my lifetime thus far, I just don’t think there’s any way I can justify lusting over one.

Deep down, I’m hoping my dear readers come up with several reasons why owning an iPad would deeply enrich our lives, strengthen our family bonds, further the Kingdom of God, and cure cancer.  Because it looks ridiculously off-the-charts awesome.  But, somehow, I think I’ll manage to resist the great societal sucking sound coming from all those little glowing screens, and choose contentment instead.

Unless, like I said, you have an inside hook-up with a guy at Apple?  Anyone?  Bueller?

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“what iWant :: the apple iPad video, gadgetry, and that distant sucking sound” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.