Friday, October 1, 2010

At least they're not Sexting, right? That should count for something...

{Side note: just writing that title made me throw up in my mouth a little}

It's no secret that I love my iPhone. It's also no secret that I can be quite annoying when I'm on it, I've disclosed as much to the whole metroplex in the past.  However, I am not a public official, nor am I someone who's been elected to pay attention during city council meetings (thank goodness), so I consider my inconsiderate ways a bit less concerning.  

During council meetings I use my twitter feed- much like I used doodling on the front of my binder back in Algebra I- to help me focus.  I am a multi-tasker by nature, as I think much of my generation is.  We grew up so over stimulated that now it is difficult for us to sit and focus exclusively on just one thing.  When I am tweeting, I am absorbing the information I'm micro-blogging about and in turn conversing with others about that information. It helps me understand the issues and ultimately understand others opinions on them as well.

I have sat in council meetings before completely stripped of all electronic devices and tried to take notes the old fashioned way, just pen and paper, but I have to be honest, my attention span got the best of me. I would jot down the surface level facts, yet without the input of others I was not forced to go much deeper than that.  Once again though, I am merely a lay person, so turning to my twitter feed to further engage me was not a difficult decision. I'll also admit that when I am "tweeting" the meetings 90% of what I type is humorous fluff with little to no actually substance (just being honest). However it does help me to recall what all was covered from visitors to zoning restrictions the next day when I go back and read over them again. It's as if the act of electronically dictating particular highlights during the meetings helps me seal them into my memory bank for a short period of time....much like doodling during class helped me remember just enough to barely pass Algebra I.  Sometimes the act of multi-tasking, while it may appear surface level and distracting to some, helps others become more mentally engaged. 

*It should also be noted that I failed Algebra II with flying colors sometimes even doodling is not enough.

However, like I said, I do believe this is a generational thing. (The cut off for said generation being between the people who dread figuring out their newfangled remote controls, and those of us who have been programmed to absorb updated version of everything every 6 months since we were old enough to LOL.)

So while I agree that the council members should refrain from texting during meetings, because as Gala Patrlow so elegantly put it, texting back and forth during meetings would "contradict a rule regarding addressing the council....requiring a person be present, and request 5 minutes to speak," I do understand why some members are so attached to their technology here in the corridor.  

As they read text messages or twitter feeds perhaps they have particular points brought to their attention that they would have otherwise overlooked, and because of these insights they may even be swayed to vote in a different way that could ultimately benefits the city, but then again the opposite could be true as well.  What if only members of the Richardson Coalition had access to the councilmen's cell numbers?  Or those of us on the other side of most issues?  Would that change the way we feel about this off-the-record access?

Knowledge is power, and additional information and opinions are also.  But texting and tweeting is just a loop hole that has yet to be addressed up until now.  And as hard as I try to defend this loop hole I keep coming back to Mrs.Partlow's comments,* and realize I'm only defending my own virtual dependency and the direct line of communication that it allows me to 3 of the seven council members, which is wrong. Plain and simple. Our elected officials should not be multi-texting.

We chose (and by "we" I obviously mean you, seeing as I only voted for one of them) these individuals to use their best judgement regarding city issues and while we may disagree with their choices, if we feel strongly enough about it than I guess we (this time the "we" is referring mostly to me) need to get over our fear of public speaking, fill out a visitors card and go on the record with our opinions...because after all no one hates anonymous commenters more than I do. 

*Gala's brilliant insights can be found here (Sept. 27th, 2010 - Item 8 Part 1 of 2, minute 2:00) 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like they all have ADHD. No wonder this country is so fk'd up.