Did you know that tomorrow, May 17, is World Information Society Day? It used to be plain old World Telecommunications Day, which was celebrated to commemorate the founding of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – an organisation charged with the task of standardising and regulating international radio and telecommunications (and originally known as the International Telegraph Union) – on 17 May, 1865.
Clearly names have changed with the times. Celebrating standards and the successful, not to mention regulated arrival of telegrams, has morphed into a more contemporary raison d’être, namely “to raise global awareness of society changes brought by the internet and new technologies”. World Information Society Day also aims to help reduce the digital divide, according to no less an authority than a United Nations General Assembly resolution to kick start it after the 2005 World Summit on the Information Society.
So, I hope you will be paying your proper respects on the day.
Then again, why not? There seems to be an official day for just about everything else: Global Family Day (January 1); World Day for Water (March 22); World Health Day (April 7); World Meteorological Day (March 23); International Firefighters’ Day (May 4); International Youth Day (August 12); World Vegetarian Day (October 1); International Civil Aviation Day (December 7)… and the list goes on.
However, my research has led me to several other tech-related days that we should be looking out for.
Take Data Protection Day (January 28) and World Television Day (November 21), another UN-inspired idea to encourage nations to “exchange cultural programming focusing on peace, security, economic and social development”.
And really there could and should be more, if the list of current ‘Days’ is anything to go by. If there’s an International Mother Language Day (February 21), then how about Hypertext Markup Language Day, where we could only communicate in HTML
Instead of World Sleep Day (March 21), it could be World Sleep Mode Day. If there’s a World No Tobacco Day (May 31) how about a World No Spam Day? (Although that would probably have to be April 1 because there’s little chance of it ever happening.) International Literacy Day (September 8) could easily become International Computer Literacy Day. Ditto World Email Day for World Post Day (October 9). World Hello Day (November 21) could be Windows is Starting Up… Day.
If there’s International Talk like a Pirate Day (yes, it’s true – September 19 to be exact), couldn’t we lobby the UN to go for a ‘Talk like Bill Gates Day’? Or, if they didn’t want to go for that, maybe Talk like Bill Gates Talking like a Pirate Day!
Of course, there are always really daft things like World Unlimited Bandwidth Day? Or how about International Tacky Email Formatting Day… wait a minute… that one already exists! February 4 if you were wondering. Or is someone pulling my USB drive?