Technology, Apps, Overwhelm…

Here we go again….I am almost 64 years old. I am self-taught on the computer and I think I do rather well. I am IT, the primary tech person in my household…How did I get this weird role? I use the computer often; I need to be able to do business forms, contracts, store photos and videos and so much more.  Even though I have very little understanding of how all of these things work, I am the person who  figures out what to do when there is a problem…I am not thrilled with this role, but I do have a little bit of satisfaction and pirde that I have managed to learn a lot and handle this huge nuisance of a task.

Here is a typical situation…a few days ago when I went to turn on the sound (via the icon at the bottom right on my screen), what showed up was not the usual.  I had no idea what to do with it.  Being short on time, I decided I’d have to wait until some other time when I did HAVE TIME (WHEN IS THAT???) to call www.support.com  to assist me.  Support.com is a great service that you can subscribe to for under $25.00/month or you can call them and pay on an as needed basis.  Their technicians are great, easy to understand, professional and they will take over your computer and fix things, adjust settings and they will teach you how to do things…but I digress.  So I dropped the need to have sound and moved on.  Yesterday I decided to try to figure out how to turn on the sound (the truth is I have attempted to figure this out at least 4 times prior to yesterday).  I went to various places on the computer with no success and again I moved on to do other things.  Then while I was playing Marble Lines, there was sound!  I have no idea how that happened or why…what did I touch that changed the situation? I will never know…all I know is that now when I click on the icon, two mixer thingies show up instead of one audio thing…one is independent headphones, high definition audio and the other is speakers/headphones, high definition audio. I am clueless…all I know is that there is sound.  When I do call Support.com for something else, I will have them teach me about managing the sound. 

Mind you, this is only one (and the latest) of my unanswered questions. All of these make me have an uneasy kind of confusion that permeates my entire being.  I walk around not feeling comfortable, knowing that I really don’t understand how this machine works…feeling totally inept at times and feeling like it must be my age…

The other day, I was with a friend when she took out her camera and didn’t instantly remember how to take a video of her son…she is in her early 30’s!  You cannot imagine the relief I felt…OMG it isn’t me…lots of people are confused by all of the fast-changing technology…I felt better that although I purchased a small video camera in October, I am simply not expert on how to use it, how to take photos on it, how to maximize its potential.  It makes me feel like an idiot, which I am not.  What strikes me at my core is that I am not crazy….even as recently as 10 years ago, people purchased a camera, learned how to use it with relative ease, got to know the camera and got to feel secure in that knowledge. It seems today that we are so bombarded with new technology and the addiction of having it all that we can’t concentrate on the current new item. Even though you are holding a piece of equipment, everything seems so intangible!  I am so totally frustrated with my lack of knowledge and understanding and the feeling of not having conquered anything.  I never feel as if I actually know what to do.  Put the camera or whatever item down for several weeks and BAM! There you are again…you don’t remember what you did to get whatever result the last time you used it!  No wonder people seemed utterly overwhelmed in general today.

I went to a party yesterday and a family member mentioned to me that she doesn’t do well with Facebook…and I thought, yes, it is all a royal pain…you know you go on your page and expect to see all of the comments of your “friends”, but you actually have to look at their pages, too.  Now if you have 80 “friends” or 300, this just becomes one more burden to keep up with…. what people are writing and then there are the links and causes and games and surveys they put on there and the photos…Facebook would be a great bit of fun and entertainment for a shut in, but for the rest of us?   It’s work!  And it makes you want to participate and add your own pictures and videos and adding those may be difficult depending on format, etc….the list goes on and on…and people want to know why they feel like they are losing their minds?

Every day when you open up your e-mails or Facebook or Twitter or do research online, you open yourself up to being completely distracted and possibly frustrated beyond belief (except that you DO believe it because you’ve experienced it so many times you could just throw the computer out the window).  You will spend countless hours, have fun, learn something and you will stop being productive in some other areas of your life, i.e.: when was the last time you cleaned your house?  Or read a newspaper or a book or called a friend on the phone and had a real conversation? It’s all exhausting and yet an eye-opener…One more issue is that we simply don’t allot the time needed to absorb and master all of the ever-changing technology.  So be kind to yourself…it isn’t YOU that’s the problem…it is all coming at us way too fast to deal with!

I think I will log my computer and technology education hours for the next week (then I can reel from the realization of so much wasted time).

I am not saying to give up any of what you are doing, just pointing out that the answers for all of us regarding our overwhelm, frustration and exhaustion might just be in front of our noses…think about technostress.

All I do know is that I am so happy to learn that other people who  I thought would be savvy technologically have trouble with the same things I have trouble with…it’s a relief…affirming that I am okay.

Oh…and  by the way, the first time I heard the word APP was when my daughter told me late last year about an APP she was using to log her calories…I remember being a little confused by the word.  …it’s daunting to try to be current…

I wonder…they say to avoid alzheimers and dementia one should keep playing games and doing puzzles…would all of this activity (trying to solve computer, camera, phone issues, ipad, iphone, blackberry) be considered keeping your mind active… an asset…or would it be enough to drive you over the edge and into insanity…has anyone done a study on this?

This is MeddlingMom…have a great week!

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2 Responses to “Technology, Apps, Overwhelm…”

  1. andy Says:

    Great post, Tina! and YES! I definitely think having to keep current with all of the emerging technology is GIVING me dementia. I know that it makes my brain hurt. I could really identify with all of this, sis! But just keep plugging away – it’s all we can do if we want to continue to reap the rewards of being connected!!

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