Thursday, January 20, 2011

Luddite

I had a bad day with technology (and / or the internet) yesterday.  FB blocked my ability to post my blog on my FB page.  I was SO frustrated!  Not so much about the block (although that was maddening) but that I couldn't contact FB to fix the problem and I wasn't having much luck trying to fix it on my own.  Thankfully I have some very techy friends who offered reasoned explanations (as opposed to my foot stomping ranting - thanks GH) and solutions (aka a way around the block - thanks NF).

But at the end of the day although the problem was resolved to a satisfactory degree I was feeling really dumb!

When I arrived in Canada 18 years ago I had no computer skills. I went to my first job interview and when I was asked about my computer skills I said "My best computer skill is that I am a quick learner".  I got the job and for the two weeks before I started I sat in front of my parents computer with "Wordperfect for Dummies" on my lap and studied hard (after I figured out how to turn the machine on!).  Since then almost everything I have learned I have learned by just having to figure it out.

I remember one time I was working for a couple of consultants who asked me to do a flow chart.  I spent hours figuring how to put text boxes all over the page with arrows etc.... I was SO pleased with myself.  I walked down the hallway, they were on a conference call, but I put the sheet in front of them.  I got the thumbs up and was ready to do an internal victory dance when one of them took her pen and made all the boxes into ovals and circles and handed it back to me with a smile.  I walked back to my desk with a pit in my stomach about how the heck I was going to meet this new challenge...... but meet it I did. And so I have figured it all out as I go.... word, excel, powerpoint, publisher etc....

And I am pretty adept at what I need to know to be efficient in my job.  I am even quite good at  troubleshooting computer issues and have often solved issues with various computer / printer / virus glitches at work.

I am pretty active on the internet too and was swinging along with my little blog and having alot of fun doing it and then yesterday happened.

I think what hit me most is the realisation of just how much I don't know.  As they say.... I have just enough information and knowledge to be dangerous.........!!! (Clearly the FB bigwigs think so!!)   I do wonder if I will ever be caught up on all things internet related, all the programs and applications and options that are out there.

Or am I a generation too late?
Or did my late start in all things computer related leave too big of a gap?
Or maybe I just need to find the drive to really apply myself to a new learning journey (I could take some courses too I suppose:). Already I am frustrated by what I don't know about blogger and am sure I need to do some more work to make it more effective and interesting and I lurk on enough other blogs to know I can do better.....

So while I feel like I am wearing a giant cone hat with a big D on it as I sit at my computer today, I am grateful for what I have managed to learn so far, and for tech savvy friends (that include my tech savvy husband) that saved my sanity yesterday!

Here's to new frontiers, whatever yours may be!  I am off to buy Blogger for Dummies !

3 comments:

  1. I don't think that is is too late for anyone. Especially you. I find that when people are frustrated with their computer there is one common problem. (I'm mostly talking about my mom here...) And that is, that they don't ask. Maybe it's out of fear of looking like a 'dunce' or maybe they lack patience or maybe it's something else. I don't know.

    What I do know is this...
    1. There is ALWAYS a better and easier way to use technology then they way you are using it now.
    2. There is ALWAYS someone smarter then you.

    Yeah, I said it. And I accept these principles for myself. I am considered someone to go to for computer help. But I myself am constantly doing two things. I am always on Google searching for ways to do things. And I am always asking people smarter (my experienced on computers) then me for help. When we hit a road block with a computer or a webpage, it's very easy to get quickly frustrated. (I'm not picking on you Nicky, you had a VERY COMMON experience yesterday, so this is for everybody). Yes, there are some sites or apps that are stupid or have poor customer service, but the internet is huge and there are many users. Some things are meant for everybody, and everybody aren't meant for some things. (If you know what I mean;)

    So what to do when you hit that roadblock...
    First thing you need to do is remember my two earlier principles, you know the one were everyone is smarter then you ;) The sooner you accept that the easier problem solving will be.

    After that you should be typing your question in google. (Practise different question phrasing for better results). Most of the time I'll do this even before going to the webpage or apps own help page. I do this for this reason. FB may give you a mediocre FB solution, but searching on Google will give you access to people that may have found a way better solution using something else.

    If Google fails you, seek out a friend. Two heads are always better then one. If they can't help you, often it can lead to someone who can.

    If you still can't figure it out, I have one last principle for you...
    Technology is dumb. That's right, just say to technology "It's not me, its you".

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  2. You are a good and wise friend Graham!

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  3. Further to Graham's comments I would add that knowledge is now a commodity. Some have more in one area than another, for example I would challenge many to trump you in your area of expertise... and watch them fail.
    My personal Philosophy is the principle behind Graham's problem solving method, someone else has what you need, you just need to find it, it is out there.
    You were, in my humble opinion, justly frustrated, felt wronged and had no way to address your issue in a manner that gave you credence. But you shared you problem and people helped out... that's community and problem solving. Its also the way of the world now we simply cannot all have all the knowledge we need, whether its about computers or emerging curriculum so we rely on being able to finf what we need when we need it! Well done.

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