When Zach and I discuss clients and what the future has in store for those “living digital”, I am often the naysayer. While he sees the exponential embrace of a soon-to-be-unrecognizable digital lifestyle in the digital cloud, I often dig my heels in, play contrarian, and draw a line where the need for human interaction will outweigh at least some of the things coming down the pike. I’ve spent most of my life as a storyteller making television shows. Recently, I have become cool and open minded enough to put those skills to work on apps, websites, online series etc. I submit that I have made great strides with respect to leaving my analog cave and accepting the fact that (1) the audience is in charge and (2) that they want story, commerce, entertainment, and information delivered seamlessly, and on demand regardless of time or place.

The other weekend, though, I was compelled to at least loosen my grip on the status quo and take a deep bow in the direction of the tsunami that is heading our way. Here’s the scoop. I looked in on my two girls (12 and 10, respectively) when I heard blaring music shaking the foundation.

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I opened the door (without knocking because, well, I can). There they were, TV on full blast, watching some show where the latest quasi-pubescent heartthrob, Justin Beaver (I know his name is Bieber, but I do that just to mess with them), was guest starring. Each had their laptop (spoiled like you can’t imagine) on YouTube watching this kid “sing” really deep and meaningful songs. They also had him on their iTouches (is that the plural, or iTouchae?). One was on the phone talking to her friend, who was apparently watching / listening to the same Bieberpalooza and the other was texting about the same. In short, it was a platform agnostic, social networking, wireless, audio / visual, crowd sourced, simulcast of all things Beaver (again, just to make my kids nuts). The only thing missing was this kid live, in my house, rocking out (generous on my part) to my screaming girls and their digitally connected fan club. Of course, that came several days later when they saw him live (and, as we all know, Bieber live is like seeing The Boss live in the late 1970s—only the four hour set replaced by 3 four minute songs, primarily about school and gum). Told you they were spoiled.  By the way, while engrossed in their little BieberFest, they never even noticed I was there.  I hate Justin Bieber.

I think this is what Zach calls “living digital”.

The next day, I was telling this story to a bunch of folks at a charity event. A crowd gathered. I’d like to say that this occurred because I am a devastatingly handsome, social vortex creating, brilliant raconteur. Turns out, they all had their own recent digital life epiphanies. One 27 year old woman said her 22 year old brother thinks she is a digital dinosaur (by the way, this gal knows her stuff).

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A youngish grandfather told me how his son’s 6 year old borrowed his Blackberry and asked Granddad how to make an exclamation point. Granddad’s direction to “look for the button with the black dot on the lower left side” was met with (six year old mind you) “Granddad, why didn’t you just say that I should use the ALT key?” Finally, when another youngish grandmother (do I kiss ass well or what?), told me that she saw her 2-year-old grand child “thumbing” a toy block as if it were a mobile phone while playing, the light bulb went off. If my girls and babies are doing all of this now, one can only imagine what is ahead.

Yes, Zach, you are correct. You win. The wave is a comin’, what we think is the future now will encounter obsolescence in moments, and thank the stars that we don’t “only make big splashy network TV shows anymore”. Tech will change story, story will change tech, our willingness to adopt the new will spread endlessly like the universe and alter, impact and dictate all of the above.

That said, a month or so from now when I can have things simply beamed into my head, thereby reducing my mind’s eye to a vestigial, outsourced, hunk of my gray matter, I think I am still going to want to go to the movies. Now if only everyone would stop with the damned cell phones glowing, ruining the moment and distracting me from the Academy Award winning acting dynamo known as Megan Fox.

Crackberry photo: nkpix

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