ST. GEORGE — Among all the other categories Utah has been ranked in by blog writers, Utah’s Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox spoke to one of them at Washinton County’s 2015 “What’s Up Down South” economic summit at the Dixie Center St. George Thursday: Utah named the nerdiest state in America.
“The Nerdiest State in America,” from the Estately Blog, was also the title Cox led off with as he discussed with his audience changes in technology throughout the years and how those have changed business.
The Estately Blog defined the nerdiest state using 12 criteria from which they analyzed Facebook “liked” categories on personal pages from citizens in every U.S. state:
- “Star Trek : The Next Generation”
- Harry Potter
- “Star Wars”
- Anime Movies
- Dungeons & Dragons
- LARPing aka Live Action Role-Playing
- “Doctor Who”
- Fantasy Lit
- “Lord of the Rings”
- Magic: The Gathering
- Comic Books
Utah’s top numbers included: Anime movies with 14, Dungeons & Dragons with 15, and Magic: The Gathering with 18. All ranked per capita, according to the blog.
“In Utah, nerdishness is so common it’s practically the norm,” Cox said, quoting the blog.
Cox related the analysis to changes in society. Kids in this century don’t know what a printed encyclopedia is, he said.
He grew up in the small town of Fairview, where the population was an estimated 950 in 1975, and 39 years later has grown to about 1,200.
While his father was attending college, Cox said, his great uncle passed away and his grandfather was battling cancer. His father had to come home and help on the farm with his cousin as well as work for a telephone company.
At that time, in the 1980s, the town of Moroni was for sale for about $1 million, he said. The telephone company was on the verge of bankruptcy. The bank offered the amount to the company if they mortgaged everything including the home and farm.
“Tough decision right? You think everything you’ve worked for your entire life is on the line,” Cox said. “We’ve talked about risks in this country, what makes this country great.”
Continuing his example, Cox said that tough decisions and risks were made that in the end helped multiple businesses besides the telephone company and farm. As the telephone company changed and grew – as well as towns and cities in the area – so has the ability to communicate, he said.
“So now we have this ability to communicate instantaneously 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” Cox said. “It’s almost too much sometimes right? It’s always there. I can’t live without my phone.”
In discussion with the audience, a few different ways information is communicated as a result of technological changes were mentioned about the changes brought by technology.
One way is how people have access to most knowledge; with no encyclopedia, googling a questionable situation can be done by a smart device
Other changes are how news is consumed and how technology impacts privacy of information. Newspapers and nightly news used to be the way to know the news in the 1980s, Cox said. Not anymore.
“Technology is good but can also not be good,” he said.
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