Feeling at Home With Technology

November 3, 2008 by  
Filed under Digital Space

Feeling at home  … some of the synonyms for this wonderful phrase include at ease, familiar, in one’s element.

These thoughts raised a question for me – how “at home” do you feel with technology?

For me and for some people the answer is very.  I feel comfortable, familiar and at ease with technology – even technology that I haven’t come across before.  For other people technology elicits a feeling far from being “at home” (unless of course that home is one filled with the unknown and fear).

But why is it that some people feel comfortable with technology and others don’t?  You will see many under 25s displaying a high level of comfort with technology.  Technology has been a large part of life and the business community since they were born.  They even speak technology as a native language.  But even when most of them are comfortable some are not – they shun it and say they are not comfortable with it.

You don’t have to be under 30 to be comfortable with technology.  There are many people I know who are 40 and 50 plus who are at home in front of a computer screen.  For the 40 and 50-somethings comfort with technology has been more of a choice.  Many of us picked it up in our professional lives and learnt how to relate to it.  We learnt the language, the idiosyncracies, and over time technology became familiar.

Whether you are 20, 40 or 70 the key to feeling at home with technology is to learn the language and come to understand its nuances.

It doesn’t, like some people think, come fully formed into your head.  You aren’t a dummy and someone else is clever at technology. If you haven’t taken the time to learn the skills you will always be less comfortable than someone who is a regular user of the tech language.

Actually language is a great metaphor for understanding technology.

With the few words of French that I have did I feel comfortable at the Louvre when the security guard asked me, in French, did I have any metal objects in my bag?  I stammered, came close to breaking out in a sweat and quickly looked around for my Swiss-born husband so that he could translate for me.  I felt far from “at home”.  He on the other hand was able to brush up on his French by watching TV for a few hours after we landed in France.  Even after many years of being in Australia and only speaking English, it didn’t take him long to pick things up again.  But even then he wasn’t as at ease and fluent as a Parisian who spoke the language every hour of the day.

If I had wanted to become more comfortable with French then I could have taken courses, had conversations with native speakers and used French at every opportunity.  The same goes with technology.

No matter your age, gender or previous experience if you want to learn more about technology and find yourself at home with it the all you have to do is learn.

My challenge to you, expert or novice, is to become more comfortable with just one more aspect of technology during the course of November.  Let me know how you go, I’m curious.


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