If you’re a bit of a technophobe, this post is for you. I’m exploring some tech brain reframing through the lens of the holidays. Maybe it sounds a little weird, but in the good will and spirit of the season, just roll with it, m'kay?!
It’s the season of scream. This holiday is about the scary stuff--confronting the fear. And there can often be a lot of fear around technology. What if I can’t learn how to use this? What if this is too complex? What if I press the wrong key and delete something? What if I make a mistake and I don’t know how to fix it? What if I can’t keep up with all of the new technology? Aaaaaahhhhhh! Aaaaaahhhhhh! Aaaaaahhhhhh!
The Brain Reframe:
So let me interrupt this scare with a little bit of my history that might be helpful. I have a degree in linguistics, which is basically useless in practical terms and means that I’m a language nerd. I loved (and still do love) studying not only languages but also how languages work. And once you start looking at a lot of languages, you begin to see them as creative but defined systems. When you study a new language, you are learning the system’s components and how the system works with the end goal of being able to become productive in that system (i.e. speak, understand, write, etc.). I also know that this learning process takes some time. I don’t expect to be speaking perfectly from the get-go (in fact, I know I’ll always make mistakes--even in my native language). But with some time, I get to the point where I can do something in the language (even if it’s just asking where the bathroom is), and that’s exciting!
This “language ideology” has also become my “tech ideology.” Each time I’m learning some new kind of tech, I approach it like learning a language. Each application is a system. I need to learn the things that make up that system and how they relate to each other. Eventually, I learn enough that I can start doing a few things. And those few things turn into more and more pretty quickly. And another cool aspect of this tech learning is that the more I learn different programs, the easier it gets to learn new ones. Just like there are related languages and the shared aspects can make a new related language easier to pick up, many programs run on similar principles.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled holiday brain reprogramming...
Once the fears about technology are quieted by looking at it as a productive system instead of some kind of possibly malevolent and incomprehensible force, the feelings about technology can really start to change (thank goodness!). We can recognize the system as the tool it is--a tool for which we can even be grateful. Instead of beating ourselves up when we make a mistake using a tech tool, we can just realize that we didn’t fully understand something about the system and then go figure it out--no bad feelings required, thank you very much! And although these tech tools require effort on our parts to be able to use them, they can do a great deal for us.
And that brings me to the gifts that technology brings. Once the technophobia is gone and we see technology as a tool, we’re able to focus on all of the great things that our tech tools can do for us.
Tech allows us to SIMPLIFY. With tech, we can take lots of data or processes and make them easier to deal with.
Tech allows us to EXPAND. We can use technology to enlarge our capabilities and reach out to people around the world.
Tech allows us to CREATE. This is my personal fav tech gift. There are SO many ways to make things with modern technology. And once you learn how to use the creative tools, you can have SO much fun!
So I wish you a very happy and techy Hallo-thanks-mas, and may all your screens be bright! Fa la la la la, tech tech tech taaaaaa!