I did something today I've never done before. I walked my 70-year old mother through her first on-line shopping experience. I'll spare you all the gory details, but just picture this: I have the computer; she has the need for new pants. We're on the phone together and she knows nothing about websites, on-line shopping, or the number of the specific Levi's she wants to purchase. So, as I try to find the perfect pair of pants for my gray-haired momma who is under 95 pounds and stands 5-foot, 1-inch, including her cow-lick, I’m also trying to help her understand the art of on-line shopping. We successfully found the jeans of her dreams and I got them for 25% off and free shipping. But I digress.
This experience prompted me to post about it on Facebook which elicited a rather interesting and lengthy conversation with some friends about the lack of techno- know-how of our aging parents.
I thought about my own journey with technology. Before I graduated from high school 20 years ago, I learned to type on a typewriter. College afforded a little more technology but computers were basically fancy word processors, to use one you went and waited your turn in the lab, and I didn’t even have an email account.
Since starting this journey of writing, I’ve learned to cut and paste—on a screen, not with art supplies, post a review, send a fax, create and update a blog, post a status update and a tweet, and a slew of other things that seem commonplace today.
And I’ll likely learn new things, things that haven’t even been thought of yet. And I’ll do it because it is my job. Just as a surgeon needs to comprehend his instruments or a chef needs to know his recipes, I must make it my business to master my business.
There are a few ways you can learn technology even when you feel like you’ve just stepped from the pages of Stone Age Today.
Ø Read books, study on-line, or ask questions. Use the knowledge gained by others to your own advantage.
Ø Take classes at the local community college, library, or computer store. Often they're free or inexpensive.
Ø Ask a teenager. Chances are whatever new-fangled thing you need to learn, he or she already knows and will teach you in exchange for food.
So, I’m curious. Are you letting lack of technology know-how hold you back or are you on the cutting edge of all things geek? What do you do when faced when learning something new? How do you stay current in this ever-changing world?
Nikki Studebaker Barcus