Wednesday, April 12, 2017

IT Support

Went skiing last week in France with a couple of other families; had an interesting debate with one of the Women on the trip one evening about IT support. Her position on the thorny issue of making phones, computers and the like do the things that she wanted them to do was basically that "her brain" wasn't "suited" to IT (i.e. non-scientific) and so she always looked to someone else to help her fix issues rather than invest time learning the basics herself. 

I know a lot of people with this same attitude toward technology and I think it's problematic. I tried to illustrate things from the perspective of the person that typically gets lumbered with the job of "fixing" things for people like her (in her case her Son). The analogy I used seemed to work well; I offered her the example of a boy/son/husband who announces to his Mother/Wife that his brain wasn't suited to "cooking" and so when he needed to eat his Mother/Wife would just need to stop what she was doing and cook for him. You could equally substitute hoovering, cleaning or washing for cooking, but you get the drift, my feeling is that people need to step outside of their comfort zone every now and again.

It's strange that people single out technology for special treatment in this way. What we do with technology is complex and different people use things like phones and computers for different things and therefore it's impractical to expect any individual to know "everything" about all the various apps, devices or faults that may arise. Skill and competence requires investment, people wouldn't expect to intuitively speak a foreign language so why should they expect to intuitively use a complex machine like a computer?

In the end I suggested that she get herself enrolled on an introductory course (there are loads around) that covered the basics of using computing devices (iPhone in her case) and take things from there; those not willing to make any investment in learning can sometimes appear very exploitative to those of us who have paid their dues and put the hours in.

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