Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Complicated new technology? Please.

In a writing class I had to take my freshman year at Emerson, we had to write a paper on what defines our generation and what we would call our generation (a la Generation X and the Baby Boomers).  I don't remember what I wrote about, but now I think our generation is the Technology Generation.

I've been noticing more and more lately that I'm actually quite good with technology.  I'm not good with technology the way a computer hacker is good with technology, but I know how to figure things out.

I'm becoming particularly aware of this because of one of my internships.  For the past four or five weeks, most of what I've been doing for the independent producer I work for has been fixing all of her computer problems.  She's constantly asking me to fix this application or that, and she's always got questions about how to use her iPad 2.  (I don't even own an iPad, but I know how to use one for whatever reason.)  I've figured out so many techy things for her; she's constantly saying, "I don't know what I'd do without you!"  It feels like one of those classic situations where the older person is hopeless, and the younger person just goes, click-click-click-done!

While I've never really considered myself a huge tech whiz, I'm realizing that I am a bit of a whiz largely just because of when I was born.  I was talking about this idea with one of the assistants I work with, M.  She was telling me that she thought the woman we work for should really take some computer classes.  M had just gone through the woman's computer and realized that the trash had never been emptied and that the woman didn't even really know what emptying the trash meant.  But I can no longer get irritated at people for things like this.  Because during the same conversation, M articulated a point that I had always been aware of but had never really been able to put my finger on.

We (M and I and people in our generation) have grown up with technology.  Not only that, but we've grown up adapting to new technology.  Think about how often a new iPhone or a new model of some computer or operating system comes out.  People my age have always had that constantly developing technology in their lives for as long as we can remember.  People my parents age, on the other hand, had to get used to technology in general when they were already adults.  I can't imagine life without technology, as I've discussed in my internet post, but to have a life without it and then have to assimilate it into your life?  It would be SO HARD.

So really, I only know how to figure out technology.  I couldn't tell you what RAM stands for, but I can tell you what it means when you don't have enough and what to do about it.  I don't know WHY flash player is fading into obscurity (much to the dismay of my boss), but I know that it is fading into obscurity, and I know what the alternatives are.

Somehow, technology has become automatic for me.  I have a feeling that the same thing's happened to most people of my generation.

1 comment:

  1. very interesting. I wonder where I would be with technology if I didn't have kids. Probably not too badly off, since I have a techno-hungry husband. But you're right, there is nothing instinctive about it for pre-1975 born people (or so).