Posts Tagged luddite

Among the Luddites

Ned Ludd Lives

Ned Ludd Lives!

Once in a while the term Luddite enters the conversation. We who presume ourselves to be on the cutting edge all things social and techie are occasionally floored by a remark or observation from a Luddite – or neo-luddite, or as I referred to them in a 2010 post, Luddite 2.0, a term coined my friend and deep thinker, Bill Wendel.  I have worked hard  since I wrote that post to avoid the Luddite mantle, and I can hold my own with most of the Gen-X, Y, Z or whatever Gen folks I encounter, because, as Brian Solis points out  Generation-C transcends age.  And that C is about being Connected.

TechCamp Memphis (5/12/2010) featured some of the area’s best minds in  social media, internet marketing and strategy, and an array of developer specialties.  I will admit that the developer stuff is way beyond me, but a big part of being Generation- C is having a good handle on just how much you want to be connected.     One attendee told me that her co-workers are not only not “connected”, but they don’t do very well un-connected either. “Most of them don’t know how to create a folder in Windows to put their files into.”  I wondered later if she was talking about electronic files or paper files.  I see that type of thing in my business a lot: “No, I don’t have a scanner; I’ll just bring you the contract.”  These are probably the same folks who fear the internet because someone might grab their private information; who find it easier to say NO to social media, Google, and in some cases email, rather than looking into how those things could possibly enhance their lives and make lots of things easier for them.  Having adopted the use of the telephone, they still carry pagers. Luddites 2.0.

Remember studying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in Sociology 101?  Look at how closely the upper 2 levels (and possibly 3) of the pyramid reflect what most of us are accomplishing, in a large part, online today through being connected.


Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

I am not saying that’s good or bad, but think about it.  Once you are there can you go back?  Can you give up that connection?  Do you see a day when technology will evolve to the point that you will draw a line in the sand and say, “I’m a Luddite now.”?

-Images via


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Luddites 2.0

Most of the What’s going to happen in Technology in 2010 articles and blog posts have been published, many similar to this one from Globalthoughtz – 10 Technologies that will rock 2010.  I try to keep up with the major trends, but the amount of technology news and innovation out there is mind-boggling, even when it is aggregated to some extent by techie mega-blogs like Mashable and TechCrunch.  I read; I discuss; I participate in everything tech that I can, but I am still intimidated by the new technologies.  My new Android phone stayed in the box for a week before I was “ready” to start learning to use it, and now I have concerns that I won’t have it mastered before the Android generation of communication devices is replaced by something even more revolutionary.

As sort of a new twist on the Peter Principle (check the link – this was a buzz word before most of you were born), we all rise to our level of technological incompetence.  I am a Boomer, and, hard as we try, we are just not wired like the Gen-Xs, Gen-Ys, and Millenials.

Last night, Craig Ferguson, the funniest man on TV, mentioned in his monologue that he was a Luddite, and went on to explain that the Luddites were a British protest movement of the early 19th century.  They were textile artisans opposed to mechanized looms and other advances of the Industrial Revolution that, they felt, were putting them out of work and unnecesarily changing the world.  The thread runs from Jonathan Swift to Emerson and Thoreau, and into the 20th century, especially in the environmentalist fiction of Edward Abbey.  The term neo-Luddite attempts to modernize the definition, but in these times when our electronic devices and associated detworks provide the context of our life experience, my friend, Bill Wendel coined the term Luddite 2.o.

The context of my conversation with Bill was Luddism in Real estate – the resistance of Realtors to embrace technical changes in the industry.  It’s not only technical devices, but the transparent culture of Web 2.0 that fosters Realtor resistance; it’s the loss of control of data and absolute control of transactions too. [More on that in a future real estate-oriented post]

As much as we may protest progress, it still rolls forward.  No doubt, each of us will reach his/her level of incompetence.  We are fighting Moore’s Law here.

What do you think?  If you are a Boomer, do you feel you are keeping up or are you still analog?  Gen-Ys and Millenials, can you continue the conversation with us Boomers who are giving it a shot?

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Sometimes I think the Luddites have a point

Rage Against the Machine

According to Wikipedia,  the Luddites were a group of 19th-century English textile artisans who protested against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, which they felt were leaving them without work and changing their way of life.  They could get wild at times, sabotaging  and destroying the looms and machinery that displaced them.  The movement was named after General Ned Ludd or King Ludd, a mythical figure who, like Robin Hood, was reputed to live in Sherwood Forest.

The Luddite movement has continued in various forms right into the present.  And some lots of days I can really relate.  Like when I wake to 541 items in my Google Reader, scores of important Tweets from close friends, 2 or 3 screens of emails,  and scores of irresistible updates on my Facebook home screen.  And then the phone starts ringing.  We love our electronic toys.  Toddlers can manipulate iPads;  Baby Boomers, challenged for years with programming their VCRs, are texting before breakfast.  Grandma is Skyping with her grand children.  Everyone is a geek and/or a social media guru.  Millions of us have become homemade journalists, posting our wittiness and brilliance to our blogs for all the world to see.  We’ve got to keep up with all, because if we don’t,  we shall perish.  …Or not.   Read the rest of this entry »

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