Obama Calls iPods, iPads, Xboxes and PlayStations Distracting
During a commencement address at Hampton University in Virginia on Sunday, President Obama offered a warning to graduates about how today's electronic devices including the iPad can distract and spread disinformation.
"With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation," the president said.
The comment that took a mild shot at premier products of Apple, Microsoft and Sony appeared in an overall context about the dangers presented by perpetual news cycles, as well as social media and blogs, to truth and democracy.
"You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank that high on the truth meter . . . so all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it's putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy."
Later in the speech, Obama said: "With so many voices clamoring for attention on blogs, and on cable, on talk radio, it can be difficult, at times, to sift through it all; to know what to believe; to figure out who's telling the truth and who's not. Let's face it, even some of the craziest claims can quickly gain traction. I've had some experience in that regard."
As a candidate and a president, Obama has embraced technologies and trends including social media Web sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. His team also quickly revamped the White House homepage upon entering office to have blogs and a Twitter feed.