Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Scary New Tech

There will always be people who resist some new form of technology. People who refuse to get a FaceBook, or an email address (I met one just a few weeks ago), or even a computer at all. 
It makes me wonder about this (relatively) futile resistance to change. Please consider the following*:
2010: “I don’t want a SmartPhone - I have the Internet at home.”
2007: “I’m not going to get a FaceBook! I can just email!”
1995: “Why should I get a mobile phone? I can just call people from my house!”
1900: “Who needs a telephone? I can just send a telegraph if I need to deliver a message quickly!
1845: “Why should I spend money on this telegraph business? I can just send letters by post.
1700: “A double-quill pen*? Nonsense. Penmanship will go out the window if the risk of spattering is taken away! No one will learn to write any more - it will be far too easy!
There are similar arguments with knowledge and learning. These days with Wikipedia and the Internet and advanced computers and funky calculators, a lot of people are complaining that “No one will have to learn anything any more! The computers do everything and it’s all there and available!”**
What made me laugh was when I was at a Maths Teachers’ conference last year and the opening presenter mentioned the way-back-when in Greece when writing first became fashionable. People were up in arms that “No one will have to learn anything any more if you can write it all down! It’ll be right there! Written down!”
Just goes to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

* Early fountain pen, in case you hadn't already guessed
** I do not approve of introducing children to calculators in primary school, by the way.


  1. Just to point out:

    - fountain pens still spatter just as much as the older types
    - facebook is not a form of technology
    - lots of people jumped directly from writing letters to using phones, without using telegrams; *skipping* a skip in technology is perfectly possible without getting left behind
    - it's a *telegram*; you can't send a telegraph unless you actually take the physical apparatus, pack it into a box, and send the package somewhere
    - facebook... kinda sucks

  2. 1) The dual-quill pen was invented specifically to spatter less than a plain old quill - I did look this up :-p

    2) You know what I mean.

    3) Not quite what I was talking about

    4) Again, you know what I was talking about :-p

    5) That doesn't change how incredibly difficult it is to not have one as far as communication goes.

  3. 1) It DIDN'T WORK then.
    4) It's still incorrect, though. Words mean things!
    5) YMMV. Some people find it pretty easy.

  4. Mez, regarding Facebook - some people can get away with not having a Facebook account, or having one but not using it. But this is completely dependent on their peers and the forms of social communication used between them.
    Some people use Facebook for all the crud (Farmville and huge lists full of hilarious sentences to "like"), but most of us use it to establish fixed connections with people we meet, and (sadly) to keep abreast of social events and invitations.

    If your friends and peers organise things and actually phone you up to invite you, you're lucky. Too many people are forced to use Facebook as their social hub.

  5. But yeah, agreed. Facebook kinda sucks.

  6. PS. Quincy... you get up way too early in the morning. It's weird.

  7. Oooh... article. *reads*

    I get up earlier than she does, Miriam. (Generally because I get up, turn the heater on, and then she goes "Yay! Heater!" and gets up once it's warm.

    I don't use facebook for anything except keeping a way for long-lost friends who don't have my phone number to contact me.

  8. Mez also has to leave for work earlier than I do, so it makes sense for her to be up earlier :-p

    Besides, if I turn the heater on first Mez's room will boil and then I'll never hear the end of it. It's purely self-preservation :-p

  9. Ack! Open bracket! OPEN BRACKET!

    Why oh why can't I edit my comments... *wails*

  10. Why oh why can't I edit my comments... *wails*

    Because this thing is evil and I should have gone with WordPress?

    Will they delete my account for that remark? :-p

  11. Especially in regards to mobile phoneage: money is a huge factor and probably a bigger factor than a fear of change.

    Weighing up the cost of a smart phone and how much I need one is a very clear "I don't want a smart phone." Likewise I took a while to get a mobile because I simply could call people from landlines and save a shitload of money.

  12. With me in regards to smart phones, I have a different reason for not getting one than regular fear of change.

    I drop phones, see. Both my last and current phone had the back falling off randomly quite regularly within about a month of getting it. My current phone used to have a touch screen, but then I lost the stylus, and then dropped it while I was opening the door, and now the touch screen doesn't work. I fear that in six months time, I will have dropped the phone enough that it will become useless. I can deal with it at the moment, because the phone cost a whopping 240 yuan, but at my phone wreckage rates, I wouldn't want to get a phone that cost much more than that. Hence: no smart phones for Alison for at least four years.