Neo-Luddite Noob with a Side of Potato

Turns out I’m a noob – if that’s still the cool teenage way to describe someone who has no idea about the latest tech, pop culture or “in” thing this week.

I’m probably a neo-luddite too – someone who views our all-consuming affair with digital technology with scepticism, while also acknowledging it has its benefits. I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t; look at what I do for a gig!

When it all boils down to it though, I reckon I’m just a digital immigrant. It’s like a second language that hasn’t come naturally.

I can still remember my first encounter with a computer.

Christchurch Girls’ High School had recently relocated to its new site and the school was still shiny. Being a new build, we even had innovative techie stuff like computers, although the dried bacon bits in the Home Ec pantry were infinitely more popular.

Anyway, Mr Wilson was trying to teach us something on computers. We wrote stuff. We tried to save stuff. Mine didn’t save. I failed.

And therein lies the beginning of my cynical relationship with technology. Remember the early cell phones? We had a brick, a great hulking black brick that took up 3/4 of Mum’s handbag and I was embarrassed to use because it was so ostentatious and large. These days I have a little phone. I’m no longer embarrassed to use it, but I am embarrassed by overhearing conversations I don’t want to be part of. I also miss the days when we used to make a plan, stick to it and didn’t back out with a hasty text or a message overloaded with emojis, supposedly representing our sincerity.

Maybe it’s this reluctance to whole-heartedly embrace whizz-bang technology that means I have so many techie fails – like the day I posted on Facebook and wondered why nobody responded. Duh, dig a little deeper and it’s because I only posted to two people, one of whom was playing international golf in South Africa at the time and the other who seems to have disappeared off the face of this earth!

And then there’s my camera. Who else but me could look out the window at the wrong moment, hit the delete button while downloading photos and lose an entire day’s worth of photos taken at a major charity fundraiser?!

I look at my kids – nimble little swipers and clickers with an instinctive understanding of all things technological and no fear of losing it or getting it wrong (because they never do!) – and remember something I was told a while back. Our kids are digital natives. They’ve been born into it and they’re fluent. As for me, I’m a digital immigrant – doing my best but constantly trying to catch up. I’m a potato – person over thirty acting twenty-one.

I’m not a complete a dinosaur though. I reckon these days even I could save that document from Mr Wilson’s computer class.


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