Did you take a shower this morning? If not, first apologize to the person next to you, then answer me this: Did you check your e-mail? That’s what I thought. Because of your late alarm, you sacrificed your neighbor’s nose in order to see if that kid you met Friday night finally accepted your friend request.

You’re connected. Whether you check your e-mail once a day or every time your BlackBerry hums, you are a part of the digital age. I don’t blame you for being obsessed with your colorful Gmail tabs or your new iPhone application. But take five minutes that you would have spent Facebook stalking and stalk a different — albeit relevant — topic.

Did you know that both John McCain and Barack Obama have comprehensive technology policy plans? Undoubtedly, you will be affected by these policies when one of these two men becomes president.

So check the candidates’ websites and then take a detour to a Google news search. Did you realize that former Hewlett-Packard executive, Carly Fiorina, is an economic advisor to McCain? Ask yourself how that’s going to affect McCain’s technology policies. If you read his website, the overall picture looks pretty corporate friendly. Who should the president be looking out for: the public or private sector?

In contrast, Obama plans to use technology to hold government more accountable and make it more transparent. He also intends to appoint the nation’s first chief technology officer to focus on technological issues, including updating the nation’s surveillance policies to better protect citizens’ privacy rights. He also plans to reform the patent system to encourage innovation.

Both candidates want to expand Internet access, making high-speed, wireless connections available to everyone. Such an ambitious plan would improve education in this country. But it might also generate new economic competition. Will McCain be up to the task if it upsets some of his party’s corporate base? Will Obama be up to the task if it sacrifices some American jobs?

How are the candidates going to target piracy and intellectual property? Will colleges be required to turn over names of students who illegally download music? Trends suggest that this could be a possibility. Likewise, Internet providers could be required to collect and turn over names, too. Will individual privacy be exploited to protect corporate America?

Policy is broad and sometimes blandly impersonal. It’s hard to relate to something when you have absolutely no idea how it will affect you. A lot of the time, these presidential policies seem bigger than you.

But it’s in the simple tasks like your morning routine that these policies will crop up. When you flood your Cinnamon Toast Crunch in milk and check the latest Perez Hilton update, will you have a reliable and private connection to the Internet? That’s something that should matter to you. These types of issues are also the ones that can make a presidential election too often diluted by shameless gossip actually relevant.

Now go check your e-mail. I’m pretty sure your GSI e-mailed you back about not having section tomorrow.

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