In a few days, I’ll be 45. Not young, but I don’t consider it old either. I’m not freaked out by my age (there’s only one option to getting older, so I’ll take getting older), but I am starting to get frustrated by what I’m seeing with people my own age and slightly older.
I have a friend, who is about my age (maybe a year or two difference). For Christmas, her boyfriend got her a Kindle. I thought this would be a great gift for her, as she reads all the time. Her reaction? First, she couldn’t figure out how to turn it on. Then, she couldn’t figure out how to connect wirelessly (it’s not a 3G). Finally, she just put it back in the box, stating that it was “too complicated” and she wasn’t going to use it. It’s not the first time she’s done something like this, although she is a very intelligent and educated woman.
One of my co-workers who is a few months younger than I am, when confronted by new technology (the iPhone, for crying out loud!), claimed it was “too confusing” with “too many options” and she’d never consider getting one because of that. This isn’t the first thing she’s claimed was too confusing/too complicated, and she also is an intelligent and educated woman.
I won’t even go there about my mother, who although is older than I am (63), claims that everything from a laptop to a Roku to the CD player in her car is “too complicated” and that she has no use for any of it.
I look at these three examples (and they’re just three in several examples from many different people) and think that they are all missing out on everything technology has to offer. I’m just stunned that someone would dismiss something because it’s too complicated, especially when there are so many resources for support out there. When I had trouble connecting my Roku, I called and got assistance to get it working (it took maybe 15 minutes tops). When I got my new iPhone, I played around with it to become more familiar with it, then went online to search out all the cool features it had. My Kindle? Same thing. When I wanted to know how to borrow books from the library using my Kindle, I went online and looked it up.
I’m not a super techno geek. My background is in Behavioral Science, not Engineering. I don’t read technology or computer journals in my spare time. I’m more likely to follow the DIY Home Decorating blog than a 21st Century Technology blog. A few years ago, when my daughter wanted to get me an iPhone for Christmas, I was the first one to say, “Gee, I don’t know how much I’ll use it.” However, I was the first one in line when the newest model came out (and I use it for EVERYTHING). I use it to surf the web, download and use apps, and text. Don’t get me starting on texting–“Why don’t you just make a phone call?” I’ve been asked by these people, who look at me like I have 100 heads when the subject of texting comes up. Regardless of how many times I explain the benefits to texting, they Just. Don’t. Get. It. (I largely text my kids.)
To me, I think that (1) it’s foolish to have technology at one’s fingertips that is largely user-friendly (or at the very least, with readily available supports) that is beneficial and not use it, and (2) if you don’t learn to use technology, then what happens when technology moves forward and one is still standing in the dirt with a stick because technology is “too confusing” or “too difficult”?
Maybe it’s me having a mid-life crisis because I’m seeing so many my age who are becoming stagnant. I love my Kindle. I love my iPhone. I love my laptop that connects wirelessly to my modem. I love the technology in my life and what I can do with it. Mostly I love how it has made so information so easily accessible to me and how I can learn anything I want.
I don’t want to be one who is standing in the dirt with a stick.