Don’t hate technology

IUS Horizon

Don’t hate technology
Don’t hate technology

Technology is a really important part of our lives these days. Most of us have computers, or mobile phones or iPods. We use these things every day to assist us. Technology in general is a great help, but there’s a fairly large problem with it: Nobody knows how to use the stuff.

So many people are afraid to start using technology. I don’t know  how many people have told me they want to get in touch with old friends. I tell them about the uses of Facebook and how they could use a chat program to talk over video with their friends, and they immediately dismiss my suggestion with a phrase like “Oh, that’d be too much to learn.”

I know I said, “Nobody knows how to use the stuff,” but I realize that there are quite a few of you out there who are familiar with technology. Think about this, though. How many times has a member of your family stopped you and asked for assistance with one of their gadgets?  I’m guessing it’s quite frequently. There always seems to be one person in the family who knows technology and is bombarded with questions like that.

These people who don’t know technology are a double-edged sword. They don’t know anything and pester us for help. Their lack of knowledge holds the rest of us back in technological advancement. On the other hand, they give people like me jobs. I am a consultant and technician, so my livelihood depends on people needing help. I think everyone is going to need help from time to time; even the most tech-savvy individuals have to call for tech support once in a while.

What we need to do as holders of knowledge is educate people around us.

When working with the folks who need help, make it a point to not just do the work for them. Try to be hands-off and direct them to solve the problem. Explain to them what you’re doing! It’s important we teach our friends and family how to use their technology. If you maintain a calm attitude and help them with respect and diligence, they’ll improve their skills over time.

On the flip side, to the people who are asking for help, don’t just ask for help when something is weird. Almost everyone knows how to do a Google search. If you don’t, just open your favorite Web browser, like Internet Explorer or Firefox, and go to Google.com. Type what you want in the main search box. Chances are someone is having the same problem as you. Google is a great resource to get you connected with help.

Helping yourself makes you feel empowered, too. When you’re not sure how to do something in a program or on a device, just try a few things. Hit a few buttons, select a few commands. If you’re going to make an omelet, you have to crack a few eggs. The amazing thing about technology these days is the ability to reverse things you’ve done. Most programs on a computer have an undo function. You can undo the last few things you’ve done, which is great to know.

We can’t just sit back and wait for help, or do nothing to help. We have to recognize what our peers are going through, and help them out. If you don’t have anyone to help, or you’re tired of being the one who asks for help, just try something! The worst that can happen is you try something and it doesn’t work,  and then you can try something else. The sky’s the limit.

Don’t be afraid of technology. It loves you. It really does.

By IAN HOOPES
Editor
ihoopes@ius.edu