Verizon vs The Arab Spring

Verizon, the world’s largest phone carrier, just backed down in the face of the American version of the Arab Spring — an instant wave of Twitter protests from unhappy customers about intended price hikes.

You wonder how the history of the world would have been different if Caesar, Charlemagne, Louis XVI. FDR and Margaret Thatcher had tried to rule during Twitter time. Of all our revolutions, today’s revolt-of-the-masses may be the biggest. Even generals can’t lead when the ranks behind them refuse to follow…!

I was thinking of this yesterday as I watched our intrepid mail carrier trudging through the rain. Decked in somber blue, to match the mood of his fading profession, he slogged down the streets unnoticed and ungreeted. Not like in my youth when the mail — delivered twice a day — was an eager event for stay at home moms and their kids. Like the milkman, the iceman, the produce guy carting his fresh vegetables.

This is not a requiem for the dead.

It is simply an older memory sharing with younger memories an ironic epiphany. As I watched him, I knew he was bringing the new ink cartridges for my computer’s printer. The irony screamed out at me. Yesterday was delivering today!

As the slow, personal, one-on-one world of communication slips into an irretrievable past, the instant, impersonal, all-at-once world of communication has arrived. Speeding up our thoughts…our messages …our information…and our next revolution. Like the rodeo riders, our generation has boldly grabbed the reins, and we’re on the ride of our life.

Now you have to wonder who’s in charge of this ride. The rider or the ridden…?

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