Monday, January 13, 2014

Why are some people intimidated by technology?

My Quora answer to: Why are some people intimidated by technology? 

I work with a lot of new technology users, usually older people who are just diving into the tech world. For them, not knowing, appearing ignorant, can be a very strong emotion. They have to be able to get around those feelings and realize that the benefits of technology are much more useful than the minor discomfort of the learning process. Fear is one of the strongest emotions we can feel and it can overwhelm other very strong desires, like learning.

That said, I also treat my clients as if they can learn anything and do anything with their technology. I truly believe that anyone can learn to use technology. No one is incapable. I don't allow them to engage in heavy "negative talk" about how they can't do this or that. I expect them to be able to learn and I think it helps to approach the learning in a better fashion.

Another component of fear of technology is fear of not being in control. I often hear people talk about how they "have" to do this or that, as if the technology is controlling them. I remind them often that technology still has an off switch. If they are not getting value from the technology, turn it off. Don't become a "Tool of your tools" as Thoreau once said. Helping people exercise choice and control over their technological choices can go a long way towards relieving their fear.

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