I’ve heard that phrase 3 times in the past 2 weeks. The third time I asked the speaker what he meant. I always thought that being technologically illiterate meant you couldn’t code, but the meaning seems to have changed.
The third speaker said he couldn’t make his new phone do anything and said his 13 year old set up everything for him. This was an educated, middle-aged man with a demanding corporate position!
I suppose there could be two reasons here: 1. He didn’t have the time to learn a new phone or 2. He was afraid to try something on a new device. (But I’m sure neither of these reasons justifies letting a teenager set up your phone!)
New technology sometimes requires help. Years ago when our family got our first computer, I went to Kinko’s and took a course on MSWord which included setting up documents, manipulating fonts and creating tables. I went home able to do what I needed and knowing how to find out what I didn’t know.
Who has time to read the 300 page manual that comes with a new software program? At least the online versions are searchable! But it take more time to not know what you’re doing than it does to ask someone to explain the basics. The CAT tools (computer-assisted translation) used by linguists in our industry are constantly changing and upgrading. Every 3 or 4 versions I have to pick up an online tutorial just to make sure I’m not missing the new features. That’s much better than struggling.
How about the 2nd reason: Have you ever been afraid to try something on a new device? I know I have. All it takes is one experiment that closes down an operating system. I find that younger people are more ready to just push keys and see what happens. Perhaps it’s the experience level that makes one a little hesitant–and the fact that restoring to default settings sometimes requires serious technical help.
But that’s no reason to not even try! Do you choose an age where technology is suddenly too much for you? On your 41st birthday do you throw up your hands and say, ‘Let the teenagers do it?” Our Operations Manager is nearly a decade older than I am and she teaches me something new every week. You can’t possible know every software package but someone around you probably does. Don’t let them do it. Have them explain it.
Today not being able to handle basic technology is equal to not being able to read. Find help, buck up and TRY. You don’t have to let yourself become a technology illiterate!
President and CEO