This month, I had the opportunity to attend the Electronics Reuse Conference in New Orleans. It was good to have the chance to learn what the conference is like, associate faces with names that I’d come to know, and hear about the topics on the minds of people in the refurbishing industry.
One personal highlight for me was the light bulb of recognition which I saw in Ryan McDonnell’s face when I mentioned PBDD. Ryan works for Community Computer Connection, a partner agency of ours in Colorado. That was the first time I’d met someone new who was familiar with our organization.
Being at the conference and connecting with people brought to mind the dual aspects of what we are all trying to do. On the one hand, our stated goal is to increase digital access and literacy, and is totally focused on the interaction with a machine.
But the machines are the means to an end, a bridge if you will. And the human connection involves both ends of that mission.
The ultimate goal of digital inclusion is to allow our clients to use digital technology to interact effectively with others using all the rich capabilities that digital technology allows, whether one on one, as a group, or participating in shared experiences with a broader swath of humanity.
At the other end, in helping provide the technology, we engage in the most human of acts: sharing knowledge, experiences, and useful objects between strangers, creating new bonds of connection.
Bringing things back to the convention, it was a worthwhile opportunity to connect with others on a human level, and we look forward to building on these as we move forward.