Value of the digital world

During the pandemic, the availability of technology products became scarce. It also affected inventory of products that rely on electronic components, such as cars and household appliances.

I'm sure you'll remember dealership lots being empty for more than a year. I also remember a couple of our nonprofit's alumni telling us that they had to wait six months or more for parts to become available so the repair service could fix their washer, dryer, and the garage door opener.

With the WFH (Work From Home) mandate for office workers, participation in virtual meetings through services like Zoom and WebEx in lieu of in-person collaboration became the norm. During this transition, available webcams went like hotcakes, often at premium prices, while no new stock of webcams were coming once inventory was depleted. Selling price easily doubled the manufacturer's suggested retail price or more! 

The above scenario was mostly in our rearview mirrors as September 2022 rolled around. Still, world politics, inflation, battered logistics, and other cultural phenomenons continued to create "real world" challenges. The general consensus is that as we enter the endemic stage of Covid, life as we knew it before Covid will not return.

Did our "digital world" go through as drastic of a change as our real world during the past two years? I think we can all agree that during the pandemic, our reliance on the digital world services and tools were exacerbated profoundly. Digital literacy as a 21st century life-skill was underscored in a dramatic manner as it became a suitable solution to a formidable health issue and other systemic societal challenges that Covid was indirectly responsible for.

It is often cited in the popular media that cable TV and satellite TV operators continue to lose subscribers to streaming services in what is known as "cutting the cord." Online banking not only saves money by not needing to buy stamps or physical checks to pay bills but it is now considered a safer method to pay bills due to the increased vandalism of mailboxes out on the streets. When checks fall into the hands of these miscreants, your finances or identity is at risk due to the checks having the bank routing number and account number.

My opinion is that our digital world hasn't changed as drastically as our real world has in the past two years. Rather, the value of the digital world, namely its tools and services, continued to increase. That translates to the importance of embracing digital literacy so one can use said tools and services to elevate their quality-of-life during normal times, have options in getting things done even under duress, and be in a better readiness state for future pandemics that may again limit our mobility and/or social connectedness. I consider the latter limitation a systemic condition that is unfortunately a byproduct of physical distancing – a solution that proved its efficacy in minimizing the risk of getting Covid – that may once again become necessary during a pandemic.

Tak Sato

Strategist and technologist with over 30 years of experience in the private sector. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As Founder of the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives while using digital literacy as a tool for seniors to avoid loneliness and social isolation. Please visit EmpowerSeniors.Org for more information!

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Volume 14, Issue 19, Posted 11:16 AM, 10.04.2022