Monday, March 8, 2021

Digital-Savvy vs. Digital-Jaded

Publication date edit to reflect date of actual writing. Posted much later on 6/24/2022.
More and more I find myself sounding like a digital luddite…
“goddammit, it’s making me log in again - crap, I don’t know the secondary password…where’s the freakin’ setting again?...gah! Can’t I just turn on the TV and watch something?!?!”

I used to be a digital convert - evangelist even. The Internet was new when I was in college, and as soon as I had access to it I jumped in with both feet - spent all our wedding money on a computer, learned to code HTML when tables were a new thing, learned JS and CSS and how to work between them, learned ASP, even freaking Netscape LiveWire… taught myself how to administer servers, the whole thing. I was full-stack, man!

Now I’m kind of burned out on the whole thing, and I sound like a caricature of everyone’s grandpa trying to use a laptop. I get WAAAY too pissed off when I'm asked for yet another password - or even MFA!! - when I'm just trying to watch TV or play a stupid Playstation game. And how many different ways do I have to sign up for HBO Max, then have to remember WHICH WAY I did it originally, just so I can actually RELAX my brain for a couple hours... FUCK you, Internet!!

Meanwhile, my own parents are digitally fluent, as are my in-laws (well, to be honest, in both cases it is actually the moms who get it more than the dads, so maybe there’s something to that too…)

We still talk all the time about “older, less tech-savvy users” - I wonder if that’s a myth at this point? Maybe we’re seeing the “tech-jaded” group start to become more important? I am by NO means "not tech savvy" - hell, I was part of making this whole mess back in the 90's! But I am absolutely part of the Tech Jaded submarket. The good news, I guess, is I'm in a position to speak for us in my role as a digital product strategist type person. The bad news is nobody really wants to hear it because "I'm not the target audience" - which is totally true, I totally get the whole don't design for your own opinions thing.

But I can't be alone on this. Does anyone else resent the degree to which we've turned over our lives in the supposed service of creating convenience, only to be asked to perform these stupid little tricks for the digital overlords we've created for ourselves?

TechnoLord: "What's the password, little doggy?"

Puny Mortal: "arf!"

TechnoLord: [secretly comparing "arf!" with "Arf!!"] ...

"Oops, it looks like you are not you after all, you're going to have to reset your password in one of three or four possible different ways, only one of which will work, and we won't tell you which, before you can be trusted to watch John Oliver this evening. Good luck!"

Puny Mortal: [begins to gnaw nervously at loose skin on forelimb...]

I think it's time to join a Special Interest Group, but I'm not sure I have the patience to set up the account.