So I had the recent fortune of being at a forum for candidates running for a public office. I'm not going to be any more specific than that, so as not to publicly make any kind of spectacle or anything.
One of the candidates during the forum was using their smartphone to look up statistics on the internet while answering questions. This struck me as unprofessional. Here's someone looking unprepared, googling things on his/her phone DURING the forum.
But then I asked myself, "Am I just being a stogy old guy?" I admit that I'm not very old (32) and I'm by no means a technophobe (although I don't have a cell phone because I don't think it would be very useful to me, but on the flip side, I've been using the internet since it was all text based and the best search engine around was the world wide web worm).
So was I being silly? Lets imagine that in the minds of today's youths, or in this case this particular candidate, they think, "Why research in advance? I have the ability to research on the fly, so I'll do that, which will probably yield me better results than researching beforehand and trying to remember it all." Which isn't to say is false. It probably is true. I know I've made arguments that I couldn't exactly back up with facts, but knew to be true, and challenged people to google it. They do, and I'm right. Is that much different?
So lets say this is the case. Can I really knock him/her down for not being prepared in advance, when that was his/her plan? His/her preparedness is at the tips of his/her fingers.
Its entirely possible that what s/he gets from his/her phone contradicts what s/he was going to say. S/he would have to come up with an argument on the fly to make his/her position match the data. Of course many candidates have to do that when faced with questions. But without being prepared, his/her argument might suffer. But what if s/he's a fantastic arguer? Then this really wouldn't be a "weakness" for this candidate. Heck it might be something to encourage.
The more I think about it, the more I realize I can't find a legitimate reason to devalue this person's decision, yet I found it extremely off-putting.
Am I judging this person purely on social convention, or is there really something wrong with what this person did?