This BoingBoing article made me think: it’s amazing what type of knowledge we take for granted these days and, to a lesser extent, how our knowledge of technology has changed us.
I remember using the phone dial for the first time … heart beating loudly, not sure what would happen … I also remember playing with my parent’s phone: just dialling a number and watching the dial go back. I remember using a computer for the first time, and I definitely remember BIG mobile phones, and floppy disks! I remember going to just one site at a time in the one open IE window – and once I was finished with the site, only then did I go to the next site. No stumbling, no multiple tabs open, no Firefox (or Opera, for all those Opera users out there).
Now, it’s taken for granted that you, given your class of “human being”, will simply know how to use technology. Somehow technology knowledge has seeped into humanity’s consciousness, and babies are born as technophiles.
But, at some point back in the day, someone had to describe and document how to use a phone dial. Imagine the users’ resistance and how PR and marketing had to fight to get them to accept these devices in their lives. (Would it be a case of “thank goodness for the war” – otherwise it would have taken a lot longer to accept using phones, for example? So, marketing would have used those Hitler-propaganda-type posters to advertise phones?)
One thing that hasn’t changed that much is the fact that owning and using technology is still a status item. Yes, everyone might have a mobile, but do you have an iPhone or the latest Nokia offering? And what noname brand laptop are you using?
Technology also is a a separator of human types. Take, for example, Seth Godin’s article on Why downloading Firefox is like getting into college. Technology is a separator between those who get it and those who don’t; between those who push the envelope, and those who accept Microsoft as the only answer. (on a side note – I was just thinking of how we can classify peeps according to the browsers they use: conservative middle class Microsoft users, or entrepreneurial FF users etc. Or has this link between personality types and technology acceptance been done before?)
All in all, I am excited about the future. I really hope that we don’t slow down. I am very keen to see what else we can do 🙂