Modern technology is not designed to make you think. It's designed to make you do.
There's nothing wrong with doing. Unfortunately, though, as Rep. Anthony Weiner's pained, painful press conference showed today, instant doing can be your undoing.
In Weiner's case, it seems that all it took was clicking in the wrong box. Instead of sending his sweet boxer-briefs tweet by Direct Message he simply clicked the reply button. That would be the reply button that allows everyone to see everything.
Naturally, it took some highly enterprising political opponent to click on the yfrog link and discover a bulging story. But who among us hasn't experienced the automatic click that cannot be undone? Who hasn't managed to send what they had intended to be, say, an e-mail for just one set of eyes that--with the assist of, say, the "reply all" button--went to some of the last eyes the recipient might have wished to see it?
So, with instantly perfect timing, up step Steve Jobs and his team at Apple.
One of the most positive and beautiful aspects of Apple's brand is how everything the company does tries to make things easier: easier to understand and easier to do.
This is not necessarily good news for those, like Rep. Weiner, who think so quickly that they don't think at all.
With its iCloud and iOS 5 announcements, Apple makes it easier for everyone to share and share alike, and with alacrity. The integration with Twitter--which allows you to log in just once and be on your way--means that your doing processes will now be even further ahead of your thinking processes.
This might just have splendidly devastating consequences.
You will be so used to clicking at 100 buttons an hour that you won't notice you have just tweeted your topless beach photos to everyone, including your local newspaper and vicar. And, with just one instant click, you will have just displayed your boxer-briefed bottom-half to those who are most definitely not your firm friends.
The thing with, for example, TweetDeck, the place where Rep. Weiner reportedly met his Waterloo, is that it doesn't ask you whether you're sure you want to send the message. It lets you do it and then, like Weiner, witness what you've done. Some might call it the Mark Zuckerberg principle: put it out there first, and see what happens later.
Yes, you can attempt to erase all trace. But, all too often, someone will have picked up the scent.
Sometimes, it's when life seems at its most easy that we have to think with the greatest sharpness. Unfortunately, technology isn't always designed to help us do that.
It can lead one--as it did Weiner--from a message that was supposed to be direct, to a man from the "Howard Stern Show" shouting to you at a press conference: "Were You Fully Erect?"