To today’s computer-savvy readers, “technophobia” might sound like a quaint leftover from the 20th century. You remember, right? Back in the 1980s, guys like me wrote poems of dismay about the invasion of technology into the arts.
I still remember the words I penned when “word processors” were becoming popular, disgusted by those who, instead of working “doggedly, making errors,” chose to “process words quickly for loot. Technology,” I continued, “favors the latter/But I say, ‘That does not compute.'”
Ah, the good old days.
Of course, I lost that battle by a wide margin—and many more after that. I even began to compose on a computer. And once I became a full-time writer, I graduated from PC to iMac and became something of an Apple fanboy. (These days, it’s a little harder to remain enchanted with them. But that’s a post for another day.)
Clumsy, or Just Inept?
You might not consider anyone under 60 to be a true technophobe today, unless they live in the woods or don’t have electricity. However, I’d maintain that those of us who adapted out of necessity can still call ourselves technophobic if we struggle to keep up.
Yep, that’s me. I don’t know about you, but every time I come across a new WordPress update or need to “Google Verify” my business, a cold chill runs up my spine. You could say I’m somewhat inept at this stuff even after all these years, or just a bit clumsy with tech. I’d retort that I’m more a word guy than a symbol guy, and my mind isn’t built like the mind of a programmer. Am I really expected to remember what those little gearshift symbols or hamburger icons are meant to represent?
I Want to Improve, But…
Now, the whole point here isn’t that I’m not a high tech expert. That’s pretty obvious. I wrote my first novel by hand, then typed it (yes, on a typewriter—Google it, children), then put it on a word processor, then…ah, forget it.
But now I can actually write multiple drafts on a big old iMac, and I can even update the apps on my phone with the touch of a button. It’s all pretty nifty, I suppose.
Do I miss the days when people weren’t developing bone spurs in their necks from looking down constantly at their phones? Yes, in some ways, I do. And while I view technology as both a curse and a blessing—in many ways, we’re more divided than ever, however “connected” we may be through tech—I probably lean more toward the “curse” side…especially when contemplating the newest upgrade or update or whatever I have to deal with next.
And yes, I want to improve. But the companies who create all this stuff sure don’t make it easy for artistic types like me.
What about you? Do you struggle with technophobia? Let me know in the comments below.