Friday, April 27, 2007

New Tech..Still

I've commented before about people who vigorously resist getting email. But I'm beginning find several friends and acquaintances who, although they use email, fail to 'extend' their grasp of technology. I've recently started sharing documents online via the Google Docs and Spreadsheets system with a couple of my friends. My hope was that they would be able to see what I had done and collaborate with me online - easy for me and easy for them right? Nope. Instead they all asked if I could send them a word document or if I could put it directly into and email. Email is something that they all understand and are comfortable with. (I even suspect that a couple of them still print every email and deal with it as paper)

My problems start with the need to work to combine the edits of potentially four people that individually email me back, each with their own edits and changes. This will actually create much more work for me in the end than if they had only taken the 20 minutes to work at understanding the great systems being offered, for free.

One observation is that some people seem to have reached 'max load' they really can't take much more, they understand the web in general - i.e. the original static information provider sites (circa 1995) and they understand email but that is the extend of it. In the last 5-10 years the web has become so much more. Online collaboration, personal and social sites, software as services and much much more. Now, I'm not sure if this is a 'design issue' or a 'human issue' i.e is this something that the web site designers need to look at or have we just reached the maximum limit of some people to adapt?

A small percentage, mostly older and those that really never got connected in the first place seem to still expect (or maybe hope) that this whole Internet thing will 'go away' or end or 'get simpler' somehow. I'm convinced (and admittedly I have a reasons to be it's my lively-hood) that we're going to be on the Internet and using technology like this from now on, please - help those of us out here on the front edge a little bit...spend ten to thirty minutes each week expanding your technical knowledge - read the Globe and Mail technology columns, learn about and subscribe to RSS feeds that discuss your other hobbies, in general work at becoming more 'web literate'. Besides, in the end the time you save will be your own.


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