Fear the Turtle

It is the final semester, at least that is how I am characterizing this current semester of our Digital Media Journalism Certificate Program. This posting is for the morning class which will focus on mobile devices and being a mobile journalist. I’m what a savvy digital person would call,  a non-techie, but worst because I want to be a techie, an all things digital person. This process has been difficult because technology does not like me. I hit the button, the same one you just hit to post a blog and the computer will crash. I just try to create a new email but Google came back and so no. Professor Yaros has his work cut out for him in guiding me.

With so many avenues to retrieve research and information and to interact socially with others, I am thinking of something Professor Neil Postman said (I am paraphasing) “this is a technological solution but what other problems does it create?” This is quite the opposite of Professor Yaros, who advocates jumping in and embracing technology. I am trying. For example, earlier this week, I tweeted about a new hotel app, Hotel Tonight,  where you can book rooms and get deals at the last minute. This sounds awesome. I like to travel and I like the flexibility, which is something this app would offer. Suppose I am stuck at the airport because 1) snow  2)missed my connection 3) my flight arrived in the middle of the night in a strange city and my friend who I am staying with left the airport and is not coming back to pick me up until the next day and lives 90 minutes away (yes, true story).  I could just book a hotel room  immediately without waiting in that long line at the airport hotel booking desk like the one at Heathrow, that was of no help last year (again, true story).

This all sounds good for  travelers but what impact will it have on small businesses? Will the little mom and pop or family own hotel or B&B benefit from this or will chains dominate or try to create an exclusive deal with Hotel Tonight? What happens when  Hotel Tonight is bought by Travelocity or Expedia, what does that mean, for those who use the service? A word of caution, the app stores your credit card which makes me wonder about the security issue  Like Postman said, a solution but it creates other problems. Suppose you lose your phone? I don’t think I will jump on this deal just yet. Plus, knowing my background with a piece of new  technology  or new software when I use it; I will let others work out the problems of new apps before I use the app.

Last September, I attended a DC AD Week conference. One speaker, Google’s Peter Greenberger, said the average number of apps a person has on his or her phone: 40! I spoke  to several people afterwards who thought this number was on the low side. I wonder what is the number is today?