As far as technological savoir faire is concerned, I squat a long distance from the apex of knowledge.

Most of my friends and colleagues long ago bought smart phones and would be considered Early Adopters by communication scholars. There are a few holdouts (including fellow professors) who refuse to buy a cell phone.

The Portland culture respects and honors many low-tech approaches to daily living. You see folks cycling on beat-up bikes, kids cut their own hair and fellow denizens actually use the library for books, magazines and movies.

But when it comes to phones, it seems no price is too high. The Portland Apple Store has a constant thread of users and my bus-ride home is fueled by the cacophony of phone conversations. Even my driver has been known to chat on her phone at a red light.

So when Santa brought me an android phone for Christmas and I buried my landline, I realized I had joined the circle of Adopters. In the parlance of scholarship, I am known as a technological Laggard. That’s right: one who falls behind the others. A tortoise.

A perfect metaphor for my terrapin efforts. For example, I need to walk my extra-heavy bike up 2 blocks on my way home because of a small hill.

I may be a Laggard but at least I’m in the race.


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
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2 Responses to Laggards

  1. George Rede says:

    Welcome to The Present! Let’s see how long it takes before you text while you ride your bike. Ha.


  2. Ha, indeed. The latest Newsweek says you should throw away your smartphone. Apparently it’s a dumbphone. Thanks for listening, C


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