I have been using technology for a very long time. My earliest memory of tech goes back to the days of playing Dig Dug on my moms computer. DOS was the rage and I was loading programs off 5 1/4″ disks. Amazing how much has changed. Even in doing a search for an image of a 5 1/4″ floppy disk the result was two! In my amateur technologist career I was the kids who could program your Casio calculator watch and stop the VCR (that’s right a VCR!) from blinking 12:00. To me this was easy but to others it was some sort of black magic that was unimaginable.
In thinking about technology I often wonder why there are people who just don’t get it. I have realized over the years this is a very selfish statement. Even still, technology has been around since the 1970′s (i know it dates earlier but was more accessible at this time even if it was the size of buildings) and yet there are still pockets of people who see it as some sort of dark art that you don’t speak of or else Voldemort will come and get you. I say this a bit tongue in cheek but it in many ways it is true. Now we have a generation of kids that don’t even know what life would be like without technology. I have two sons and both have tech at their fingertips and even reference the Internet as Google which I am currently educating them on as incorrect! The point I am making is that there is a wide gap over the last 40 odd years of people who don’t know and don’t get it to people/kids who do get it. So this got me thinking. Is technology a dark art? Or is it just a language in itself?
If it were a dark art then it would continue to be misunderstood and the general population would not be as active in the usage. It would be practiced in caves and the odd use of dragons blood and serpent gizzards would be required. This would make for a very odd Customs search when travelling over seas.
Taking the above into consideration I think the analogy that it is a unique language suits far better. Now I may not be the first person to arrive at this conclusion but I feel that a continued effort to simplify technology is needed for those who are lagging, uninterested or just no into speaking new languages. Much like learning French or German, if you are primarily an English speaking person, it would take time and experience to gain the capability to speak, read and articulate. Further more, the more you speak it the easier it becomes and your ability to speak without thinking just sort of happens.
So why am I making this analogy?
If there is one thing I aim to do with technology, in its many forms, is to translate this unique language back into the language of the person who originally asked the question. Many of my peers would like customers/people to think it is a dark art so that they could continue to charge and arm and leg but I feel this is the thorn in the technology industries side. Even I know I could confuse and baffle people and at times this is exactly what you need to do, but we live in a world where technology moves faster than people and concepts like BYOT (Bring your own Tech), mobility, and commodity IT/ICT make it hard for an industry to have worth. Especially when the person who signs the check has a son/daughter or niece/nephew who could do you what you do or are offering. ROI models become harder to achieve and the cost of technology on a whole is driven up.
So let’s practice tech in a modern way. Let’s share the language and teach the less savvy that it is not a dark art. It’s just a language that they have yet to learn or understand. As their translator you will guide them through the dark unknown and get them exactly what they need in the end. As a result you will build real relationships with people who need someone just like you.
Goodbay, Aloha, Au Revoir, Ciao, Auf Wiedersehen, Zai Jian, Adios, Snakkes & 再见