Saturday, December 3, 2011

Technology Adoption: A Slippery Slope

Did you take typing class in high school?  Did you own a fountain pen?  Do you have memories of Kodak Brownie cameras, Princess phones, the Ernie Kovac’s show, or Roy Rogers?  If you do then you may be a member of the Low Tech Club.
Many senior citizens prefer things they way there were when they were young.  Comfortable and familiar aspects of our youth, you knew how they worked and how to use them.  You refilled your pen when it went dry, no need to reboot or call tech support.  Life was easy, maybe a bit messy but easy.
If you called someone and if they didn’t answer you knew they weren’t home.  Now a message comes on and asks you to leave a message.  Are they home, screening calls, busy or on with someone else and don’t care to answer?  You just don’t know and that is perplexing.  Likewise, if you email or send a text message to a friend and don’t receive a quick response you get annoyed. 
Many seniors avoid the lure of high tech gadgetry.  Someone I know has a smart phone and all they can do is make phone calls.  Twenty-five years ago they couldn’t program a VCR (a device that has virtually disappeared).  Now they exhibit some of the same attitudes towards email, text messages, smart phones or online social media services.  Too many options, choices or strange terminology make them feel uncomfortable and inadequate.
The stereotypical view is:  Seniors don’t do technology.  Assistance is often required when they do make a leap in technology usage.  Usually a younger family member or friend is contacted for help or advice.  Or they totally foul things up and then they make that dreaded call for help.  I too make those calls to my sons on occasion.
But many senior citizens embrace technology.  One of my earlier interview subjects uses email extensively in her new enterprise and accesses extensive real estate data bases for information.  Only a few short years ago she would have laughed at the thought of her dependence on a computer for her livelihood.
While my wife, Iris, verbally eschews the Internet and computers she actually is very adept at online shopping, researching cruise line information, finding coupons for restaurants and communicating with her friends via email.  Iris appreciates the benefits of our new iMac™ compared to the now defunct PC.
A former co-worker (70 years plus) uses the Internet to display his artwork and has an online resale web site.  Another of my contemporaries has a business that relies on his computer skills to publish a coupon calendar and a portion of a second business relies on the Internet.  On the personal side he is in constant contact with his family for pictures of his grandchildren (5) and communicates sports news back and forth with his son via his smart phone.
While I manage three web sites for my personal enjoyment and now write this blog, use a new iMac™ computer, a Nook™, a laptop and rely on computers heavily at my 8 to 5 job I have not embraced all of the newest technologies.  I still use a flip phone without a camera, don’t have a social media presence and don’t send text messages.  In addition, I still pay for cable service because I don’t watch TV on my computer.  I write checks to pay my bills, but access my savings and checking accounts online. 
I use technology in limited doses.  I am addicted to Yahoo news and google for information regularly.  My Palm™ is retired and my contact and calendar information are stored on the Cloud, for access wherever I go (as long as I have a computer to use).
But as a self-proclaimed member of the Low Tech Club I hold true to some core values.  I still like reading a printed book.  There are no used book stores for my Nook™.  While many classics are available, there are still many books that are not available in print or for the E-reader.  But I will load my Nook™ with several E-books to read on my next vacation, especially the new Stephen King hardback book that is too heavy to carry or hold.  My mix and match approach to technology use is my style.
Crossword Puzzle App
Somehow last week I slipped deeper into a new technology.  I purchased the new Nook Tablet™, which adds web surfing and a variety of apps to its book reader and passed my older (6 months) Nook™ to my wife.  Adoption of gadgets and that life style commences with a trip down a slippery slope, start small and gradually increase.  I just hope that my recent purchase doesn’t lead to more gadgets.   

Oh, listen to that!  Pandora Radio (google it and find out more), it’s great.
Sorry, what did you say?  My cell phone is dead and my Internet connection just dropped.  When I get home I’ll call you back on my land line, if I remember.
KISS:  Keep innovation selectively smart.

No comments:

Post a Comment