Friday April 19th, 2019 14:37 Computer illiteracy is not cute, and you have no excuse

“Sorry, I’m not very good with computers.”

get-out-GIF

I am formally declaring that the time period in which this is an acceptable statement or sentiment is officially over.

There are a number of legitimate reasons why someone doesn’t know how to use a computer, and all of them are socioeconomic or a result of governmental/racial/situational oppression or unavailability of the physical means. None of what I’m saying applies to people in such scenarios. At all.

Thankfully I didn’t run into the encounter that inspired this post at work. This was a nice person, who I actually like.

But whomever it is, I still see the same thing in my head:

what_year_is_it

..except in no way funny.

There are so many ways to learn how to use a computer that there was at least one scammy computer-teaching company that kept its doors open for 20 years. There are thousands of legitimate services to teach you how to use one, and there is virtually zero stigma against not already knowing how – absolutely zero if you have so much as a whiff of white hair.

While many people got through the 18th and 19th centuries skipping out on learning to read, it was a lumberingly slow progression. Character (meaning letters) writing is thousands of years old. It took half a millenium for the world to move from movable type to ‘most people own at least one book.’

It took about 60 years after the computer’s invention for us to start carrying an access card to the entirety of human knowledge (and stupidity) in our pockets. Computers now control the world’s money, nuclear arsenals, transportation systems, electrical grids and water delivery pathways. And those are just the one with which almost none of us will ever interact.

There is no reasonable comparison for how chart-toppingly foolish it is not to at least know some fundamentals. My aforementioned inspiration couldn’t figure out how to open a web browser. Why? Because there wasn’t a link on the desktop.

So, no, it is no longer cute. It is no longer okay if you’re over 50. It is not a quirky character trait. It’s not you being ‘traditional’ or ‘preferring paper.’

It is you being pathetically inept at even the most basic interaction with that which controls the world around you, and doing so voluntarily, often with a twisted sense of pride about it.

And just because it reminded me, I leave you with this:

Los Commentos, as the French say

Your name

Your email

Your URL

Whois

IT guy, dev, designer, writer.

Got a degree in print journalism from UF but history dealt some bad cards to that industry, so I moved back to an earlier love: the computer.

Was recently at ZMOS Networks, but am now the Senior IT Associate at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

My name is moderately common, as are a couple screen names, so always look for the logo to make sure you're reading something with official Km approval.

You can get to me directly with kyle(@)kylemitchell.org