OK, first of all, I really hesitated using the above picture for the post (for obvious reasons). Technology is actually very cool, and without it, I’m sure the world would actually start spinning in reverse until it imploded. OK, seriously...
Can you imagine life without tech? Can you imagine work without tech? I can’t either. Having said that, technology should be something we embrace, not shy away from. Yes, it can be challenging sometimes, but that’s part of the fun, right? Here are 4 things you can do to improve your own technology proficiency:
Listen to podcasts
For the most part, podcasts are free. Not only are they entertaining, but they can also be very educational as well (heck, they can even be funny AND educational at the same time). There are so many categories available: technology, cooking, politics, music, the arts, history, comedy... you name it, I guarantee it’s available in one form or another. iTunes is a great source for podcasts. Specific to this post, there are tons of good tech-related podcasts available. Here are some of the ones I listen to on a regular basis, and I highly recommend them to get your started:
Take a class
Taking a class in technology doesn’t have to be painful or humiliating. If you find the right one, they can be fun, energizing and informative. Meeting together with other students can get your creative juices flowing as you listen to others’ questions and experiences. Classes don’t have to be “semester-long”-type classes either. They can either be community center-type classes held by your local government and/or volunteers, or led by consultants like me (here is a list of classes we offer). At any rate, they can be a great source of information and dialog.
Talk to people
We all have friends, family members and colleagues who know more about something than we do. When it comes to home improvement, I go to my ever-knowledgable cousin Wayne. He’s awesome at tile, carpet-laying, mechanics and just about anything related to home improvement. Me? I know how to franticly pick up the phone and beg for help. I’m willing to bet that we all know someone we can call to get good advice related to technology, and hopefully that person is willing to help out in a pinch. Spend time talking to that person about technology. Not just in times of crisis, but in general. Learn from them when you can.
Take the time to play/learn
Most people don’t learn how to become a great soccer player by reading a book. It takes practice (and lots of it). Becoming proficient at using technology is the same thing. Don’t be afraid to spend a little more time on the computer exploring and trying to learn new things. Set a goal for yourself to learn at least 2 new things each day (yes, EACH DAY!), then spend the rest of that day practicing those 2 new things. Not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new myself. It does take a little extra time, so be prepared. Embrace it.
Bonus: Follow me on Twitter (@kevinallgaier)
I use Twitter pretty heavily, and you should too. It’s a great resource for news and education. I get nearly 100% of my news information from Twitter (then use the web to deep-dive into stories for more information). Not only do I use Twitter to consume information, but also to disseminate tech tips, how-tos and other good tech information. Check out my feed and follow me.