Remember math class? I was never a big fan of math, so I don’t mean to bring up bad feelings if it was not your favorite class either. What really stands out to me is how all the concepts related and built on one another. If you missed some lessons or just didn’t “get it”, you would be lost very quickly. I kind of think technology is similar – if you get overwhelmed with new technology and don’t take the time to understand how or if you need to use it in your life, you may find yourself living in a different world than everyone around you pretty quickly.
Technology is changing fast and it is not easy to keep up, but what is the alternative? I have close friends and family that have no intention of trying to keep up – kind of like they have gotten off the technology train that is now moving ahead without them. This started me thinking about the path they may be on and how they may live their everyday lives in 5, 10, 15+ years from now? When I think of these situations, I think of my own mom, whom I am pretty certain decided to never get on that “technology train”. I remember in the 80’s she would cover up the VCR so she did not have to see the blinking clock. Every time I would see it, I would program the VCR clock and remove the cover (she usually laid a book on the VCR and let the hard cover hang down to block the flashing light). I remember trying to show her how to set it and use it to record shows, but I gave up those lessons quickly. Even on a visit as recent as a few years ago, there was still a book cover over the blinking VCR clock.
Think about all the new technology in the past ten years that changes how we live and interact with the world around us. What would your life be like if you had gotten off that “technology train” 10-15 years ago? No texting, Facebook, smart phones, or mobile apps. No DVR or Netflix (unless you are watching the DVDs they would send you in the mail – not sure they even do that anymore?) You would be getting around with a GPS system in your car and maybe still listening to music on CD’s? Still writing checks in the grocery line? Even just think about it from how we use our smartphones – flexible options to get around (Uber or Lyft), pay bills (banking apps), send money to friends (Venmo or Apple Pay via Text), Air BNB for a weekend away, quick access to sports scores or movie showtimes (even purchasing movie tickets with your phone and selecting your seat in advance), or weather information – are you still watching the late news waiting for the weather update? How about ordering food – I won’t walk into a Panera and stand in line to order, I just order and pay on my smart phone and walk-in to pick up my order. Same goes for Pizza, I was frustrated last month when I had to order by phone!
Now think about someone that is my mom’s age and never adopted any technology. When she needs a phone number, she looks for a phone book. Pay a bill, she has to write a check. Need to transact some banking, she is walking into a branch! The news comes from cable TV and/or the newspaper. Maybe if you had gotten off the “technology train” 10-15 years ago you could live without all the technology you use today? What about 5-10 years from now when things have changed even more? Remember math, where things build on one another? What will you miss out on 5 years from now?
So what is my point? Don’t get off the train. Keep learning and adapting. Sometimes it will be hard and sometimes you won’t need that new piece of technology, but at least you know about it and what it could do! Technology and the world around us changes too fast to skip some lessons and I think there are some pretty cool things coming that will make all of the experiences around us even better.
How to Stay on the “Technology Train”
For me, it is all about getting my hands on the technology. Sure, I can read about it and learn some good things and even watch some videos about how it works, but for me what really works is digging in with hands-on experience. So, go get an Amazon Alexa device and buy a WeMo smart switch. Just start small and figure out how to ask Alexa to turn the light on/off. Before you know it, you will be setting up your whole house as a “smart home” and wonder how you ever managed to turn the lights on/off by (gasp) hitting a switch!