Technological Adaptation & Appreciation

As Rachel Spilka explores in Digital Literacy for Technical Communication, technology is all around us, even when we’re not consciously aware of it. It goes without saying that we live in a technologically dominant world. Therefore, in this endless digital cloud that is modern society, it is our responsibility to accept technology as a dominant, driving force that is here to stay. As advanced and impressive as technology currently is, in accordance with history and current trends, technology is sure to continue its growth at an increasingly rapid pace.

In an interesting foreword within this same literature, JoAnn T. Hackos provides a brief exploration of this ongoing technological journey. Along the way, we must remain fluid and flexible in adapting to technological changes, for better or for worse. Also, it is in our best interest to appreciate technology for its various benefits in helping to improve our lives.

 

Technological Adaptation

Technological Adaptation

Image courtesy of Technology & Leadership blog

In accordance with the inevitable, rapidly growing phenomenon that is technology, it is imperative that we adapt and adjust along the way. This is especially important in work settings, with nearly all companies implementing some form(s) of technology ranging from basic to advanced. Furthermore, such companies rely heavily on said technology in ensuring smooth workflow and sustained success.

On the flipside, technological glitches and defects can temporarily (or even permanently) impede a company’s workflow processes. For example, I think we’ve all been to a fast-food restaurant that, at that very moment, experiences technical issues with its electronic payment processors. Most commonly, it seems that credit/debit card readers become exhausted and require resting periods during business hours. As a result, during those times, businesses are unable to process credit/debit card payments, instead accepting cash payments only. These types of glitches interrupt business workflow while preventing revenue, as would-be customers turn around and leave. After all, these days, the vast majority of consumers relying solely on electronic payments, often even via mobile device (ex: Apple Pay). In fact, partially as a safety precaution, it seems fewer and fewer people carry cash with them at all anymore.

In work settings, we cannot strictly reap technological benefits while unrealistically expecting glitches to never occur. Instead, just as we must adapt to technological enhancements intended to improve workflow, we must accept inevitable setbacks as they occur, ideally while refraining from becoming agitated or hostile. In fact, it is wise for all of us to practice and perfect a “Technological Difficulties Spiel” to use when addressing colleagues and/or clients while working through such glitches.

 

Technological Appreciation

Technological Appreciation

Image courtesy of Smartereum

It’s safe to say we’re all guilty of occasionally (or often) taking technology for granted, regardless of which generations we come from. Through its ups and downs, I strongly feel that we should appreciate technology as a whole. After all, it does help to make our lives easier through automation of otherwise mundane, time-consuming processes. Such automation helps to ensure efficiency and accuracy with these types of processes.

To put it in perspective, when you’re using technology to complete a task, try to imagine how that very task would have been completed prior to the initial implementation of technology. To take it a step further, imagine how that same task would have been completed during technological infancy, before significant advancements had been made. Perhaps some of us bloggers are “seasoned” enough to remember how such tasks were manually completed pre-technology. However, there’s a younger generation of users that were born into tech-society and have been surrounded by it ever since. Technology is all they know, so they would struggle to consider life from a pre-technological perspective.

Regardless of which generations we come from, or what we de/don’t remember about past technology (or lack thereof), it is important for all of us to maintain an appreciation of technology, its past achievements, ongoing progress, and future enhancements, the latter of which are sure to amaze.

About delwichej8841

Writer / Editor / Content Developer / Communication Specialist

Posted on October 28, 2018, in Blogs, Digital, Social Media, Technology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Hi,

    First great blog post this week and for the focus to be on the importance of technology. I think this is huge and like you elude to the benefits technology offer are here to help make our lives easier. While at times, learning the nuances technology brings in the end I often refer to technology and the seeking of information through the use of technology in order to resolve an issue or find a solution to a problem that is occcuring.

    Do you find that even when you technology is challenging or you come across some issues with it that you revert to using technology (via a computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.) to find the resolution to your issue?

    For me, it’s almost a double-edge sword. But, even as I look at how current workplace structures are changing and more work places offering their employees the ability to conduct remote-work or join collaborative work spaces, it seems fitting that you mention this need for us, as the user, to keep up and stay with the technology.

    I absolutely loved your paragraph on the reflection you offer about how we would have conducted these tasks with prior knowledge. I think this speaks directly to the 5 phases offered in this week’s chapter 1 reading and the growth of technology and it’s impact on the technical writing profession. It reminded me of phases 1, 2 and 3 where significant gaps between digital publishing, printing and disseminating this content to others existed. As technology and the integration of Mac’s impeccable digital publishing software integrated with PCs, and printers became more versatile allowing for mistakes to be lessened and costs to be sigfnicatnly reduced, the processes for converting documents, printing and producing these documents in phase 1, 2 and 3 were significantly more structured. I refer to the word, structured, to help indicate how in phase 1 the process for printing required the use of hot and cold type formats which either allowed for hot type to have no mistakes, a tedious editing process and a need for an individual to type accurate information without any mistakes, thus resulting in high costs for printing and more time set aside to edit and type. Now, looking at phase 5 and Web 2.0 the integration of digital publishing software has greatly enbhabnced, the use of pdf’s have contributed to ease of use across computer to computer and the need for mistakes to occur can easily be redacted with the backspace key and spelling and grammar checks.

    Great post this week! Thanks for sharing your input on how technology has greatly impacted our need to keep up and use it for what it’s worth.

    Thank you,

    Kim

    • Hi Kim,

      Thank you for your insightful feedback.

      To answer your question, yes, I absolutely use technology while trying to resolve unrelated technological difficulties. For example, I am quick to do Google searches, a practice that has basically become a reflex for me. Also, if I’m trying to resolve a complex, multi-step technological issue, I often refer to YouTube videos (a subset of Google, ironically) for brief tutorials.

      It’s amazing how we rely on technology to assist us with (other) technology, making this wonderful creation our best friend and worst enemy, simultaneously.

      Thank you!
      Jeff

  2. Great blog post this week! When you said “To put it in perspective, when you’re using technology to complete a task, try to imagine how that very task would have been completed prior to the initial implementation of technology. To take it a step further, imagine how that same task would have been completed during technological infancy, before significant advancements had been made.” It immediately reminded me of an experience I had recently with using Mail Merge (the function in Microsoft Word). I was sending out emails for work requesting that alumni participate in a survey, but the email had to be send from my department chair’s email account. He asked for me assistance (as I’ve come to be the IT person in the office, I think because I’m the only Millennial so my older coworkers expect me to understand tech better), so I showed him how to merge these emails so they’d be sent individually to each person. Prior to mail merge, those would have had to all be separate emails, written out (or copied/pasted then edited) individually. A task that took me 10 minutes to complete, would have taken the good part of an afternoon had this technology not existed.

    I appreciate that you touched on generational differences and technical literacy as well. As I’ve previously mentioned in a blog post I am researching that very topic for my Field Project for the MSTPC program. My project is focusing on technical literacy between generations and specifically looking at implementing the communication tool Slack into an environment with different generations. It’s been very interesting as I’ve been completing my research how closely the different generations do view (attitude specific) technology adaptations in the workplace. My millennial respondents have been very open and excited about the adaptation of Slack whereas soon of the GenXers and Boomers have been more cautious about openly accepting this new technology.

    Thanks for your post this week!

    Brittney

    • Hi Brittney,

      Thank you for your feedback.

      I’ve actually never used Mail Merge but, based on how you described it, I believe this feature would have been hugely helpful for me in a marketing role I held previously. How on Earth did this not cross my mind at the time???

      It sounds like you’re researching a very interesting, relevant topic for your Field Project. I’m glad it’s going well, and that your participants have been helpful in providing crucial information. Though I don’t know the details of your research, on the surface, I am not surprised that Millennials are more receptive to Slack than Generation Xers and Baby Boomers are.

      Speaking of, as a 34-year-old, I believe I technically fall into the ‘Generation X’ bracket. Regardless, I certainly feel clueless about certain technological advancements. If you and I worked together, I’m sure you’d be my ‘go-to’ IT person!

      Thank you,
      Jeff

  3. As others have stated, great post this week!

    Your points about tech glitches and taking the time to remember what the process might be like without it made me want to also comment, imagine what certain processes might be like if a technical communicator had not collaborated with an engineer/creator to write directions! Don’t forget the humans behind many of our tech experiences, including our robot friends Siri and Alexa. 🙂

    • Hi Dr. Pignetti,

      Thank you for the compliment on my post, and for providing additional insight. Your conclusion may have inspired me to finally hop aboard the Siri and/or Alexa bandwagon, partially out of curiosity. As you mentioned, there certainly are humans working ‘behind the scenes’ with technical processes, something I aspire to learn more about through hands-on experience.

      If you were to recommend Siri OR Alexa, which would it be and why? Or, do you not have a preference?

      Thank you,
      Jeff

  4. Nicely done! I liked your reference to living under an “endless digital cloud” (and then we store data in that cloud?). You’re spot on about the technical difficulties and glitches. Many systems don’t seem to yet have the built-in back end to handle them. Cyber terrorism feels like a very real threat when considering how easily our entire monetary system could go “poof.” More and more us rely on our credit/debit cards for everything. I don’t know if you’ve seen Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” but there’s a scene in season one where all the women lose access to their money overnight because the government has decided that the males in their lives are better able to handle it. It’s terrifying, partly because it seems like it could so easily be switched.

    You mentioned tech-savvy digital natives not necessarily realizing the work that went into today’s more automated technology. One such tool that I wish I had in college and grad school was the “Cite” button in databases. “Kids these days” don’t know how good they’ve got it not having to look up how to format and cite every little thing. 🙂

    • Hi Amery,

      Thank you for your kind words and insight.

      I am certainly one who relies almost solely on credit/debit cards in physical form and through digital platforms (PayPal, Apple Pay, etc.). That being said, I am especially susceptible to cyber terrorism, a haunting thought I try to avoid. Ignorance is bliss, eh?

      I’ve never watched “The Handmaid’s Tale” but have heard great things, as a former coworker of mine would speak of it often. Do you know if Hulu is the only option for viewing this series? I am not subscribed to Hulu, but am open to trying it.

      Like you, I would have loved to have citation-automation platforms during my undergraduate career. For what it’s worth, in recent years, I’ve had decent success with Citation Machine, which can be found at http://www.citationmachine.net/

      Thank you!
      Jeff

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