Our Love/Hate Relationship with Technology

“I LOVE my iPad,” she wrote. “This thing is SO COOL.”

Ten minutes later, I get another message: “I hate my iPad! I’m ready to throw it out the window! They said it’s easy to use - but it’s not!”

Admit it - you’ve been there, too. Maybe not with an iPad, but almost certainly with your cell phone or computer, no?

Or maybe you actually did throw it out the window. In which case, I hope you watched the pretty explosion! (Kids - don’t try that at home.)

Why are we so fascinated by technology? And yet, why do we get so frustrated with it? Why do we let ourselves be yo-yo’ed by machines that makes us scream with hatred, cry with frustration, and yelp with joy?

It’s like this: technology is cool. SUPER cool. No doubt about it. It makes our lives easier (well, when it doesn’t frustrate us). And it’s flashy! Who doesn’t like flashy, shiny, colorful things?

But, like every other learned skill, there are no shortcuts. And yes, using technology is a skill!

The common perception is that some people instantly know how to use everything under the technology umbrella, like music players, computers, and cell phones. The truth is, however, that it took them a while to figure it out as well. Remember: even child prodigies mess up when they get started.

Over time, these technology “geniuses” discover the secret to technology: patterns. They learn that upon turning something on, there are options within the graphical user interface that lead to opportunities. Those options can be programs, files, or other interfaces. Understanding patterns like these make it easier to pick up new devices and use them.

If you are like our frustrated friend, know that there’s no magic to using electronic devices. It just takes time to learn the patterns.

If learning how to use your iPad, Android phone, MP3 player, or Linux box is important to you, sit down with it for an hour or two. If you need more structure and direction, either find a how-to guide (there are plenty online, most for free) or ask a technology expert. With every new device you learn, the pattern will be easier to figure out and use.

Over time, the frustrations will decrease, and your overall enjoyment will increase. So, dig in, make mistakes, learn, and have fun!

What frustrates you about technology? What do you love about it? Have questions or comments? Leave a message in the comments section!