Posts tagged ‘technology’
When I went freelance, one thing I hadn’t really considered was just how much technology and equipment I’d need. You take for granted grabbing a Dictaphone from the cupboard or hunting down an artwork bag from under someone’s desk.
And there isn’t a handy Planners Shopping List you can download anywhere with a list of what you really need, so I just kept buying stuff as and when. As a result, I now have enough tech to fill several draws:
Not shown: the digital camera I took the pic with, the old PC + external hard drive I have as backup and the macbook one of the agencies I work for lends me.
Unfortunately, my two biggest agency clients have now both issued their account handlers with macs and one has even switched from powerpoint to keynote so I’m wishing I’d followed Neil’s advice and bought a macbook instead of a PC laptop.
I guess you can’t predict what you’ll end up needing (my friends with small children tell me they all bought two pushchairs; the one they chose when they were pregnant and the one they later realised they actually required). But if you’re in a similar position to me I’ve three pieces of advice – a) buy/hunt out loads of cheap makeup bags to store all your wires, batteries etc. in, b) apply for a Staples loyalty card and c) get a mac.
At last week’s SupNorth we were talking about choosing the appropriate digital platform to communicate with your target audience (aka ‘the answer isn’t always an iphone app’).
But I raised the thought that trying to use digital channels at all for some audiences is still inappropriate. I’ve posted before about my 70-something technophobe Dad who is technically online but in reality uses me as a secretarial envoy to the internet. He gets quite miffed when Radio 4 merrily asks their listeners to text in or get extra content online as he has yet to master text messaging or anything computer related beyond the ‘on’ button.
I don’t believe this is down to him not being interested in mastering a whole new skill set or being too bloody minded to go with the flow – I truly believe that his generation will find it much, much harder than even the 60-something baby boomers to adopt and adapt to new technologies. The 70 and 80-somethings in the UK today grew up in an era when life was slower – and crucially life changed more slowly. Many 70 year olds today never had to use a computer at any point in their working lives.
The idea of a machine that more-or-less works most of the time so long as you do things that are basically counter-intuitive (click ‘start’ to switch off, hover over things to reveal hidden menus) and rely on invisible links to other temperamental systems is almost beyond comprehension for some of them.
Not everyone of course, there are lots of 70-somethings out there with the time, inclination and aptitude to master each new technology as it comes along. But there are those who wish that everything would stand still for a minute (or preferably go backwards) as not only do they lack the time and techno-joy to master the subject but they are so far behind they now have almost no hope of ever catching up.
I think Martha Lane Fox and her People’s Taskforce are a little naive in their attempt to get the whole nation online. Some of our older citizens are never going to be able to make that jump. So we have to either continue to provide offline access to online services, or we have to offer the kind of secretarial technology translation services I provide to my Dad on a national level.
My Dad has techno-distrust issues. He disagrees on principle with having to click ‘start’ when you want to switch a PC off and can’t understand why Windows crashes more often than your average demolition derby. So when he asked to borrow my SatNav I knew that a refresher session on how to use it was going to be challenging.
First the battery died on us, then the system couldn’t get a signal because a wall was in the way and finally my Dad got a bit overenthusiastic with the touch screen and it tried to send him to a viewing facility in St Albans. Understandably, he found this a bit frustrating.
But my view has always been that if you approach technology with a degree of pessimism, expecting it to malfunction at some point in the not too distant future, then in the unlikely event of everything functioning normally you get a nice surprise…
I don’t own a Psion, a Palm Pilot or a Blackberry. Instead, I am the proud owner of a Filofax. Yes, its heavier and yes, I know I can’t sync it to Outlook or Bluetooth a business card from it. And I’m almost positive that it won’t play Greensleeves when I’m about to miss an appointment.
But it holds all my stuff – a tube map, business cards, those bits of plastic that just won’t fit in your purse and pieces of paper that are just sort of pending. And I can scribble in it. Typing just isn’t the same, I need that ability to scribble away at lists of Things To Do.
Its not that I’m particularly anti-technology, in fact my handbag is groaning with mobile, digital camera, ipod and assorted accompanying wires/ headphones/ Bluetooth thingys. But I’m not giving up my filofax. I just might need a bigger handbag.