Whether you are a digital native, a term coined by Marc Prensky to describe people born after 1980, or you’re a digital immigrant (everyone else); research indicates both category of individuals share some similar qualities. For example:
Digital Natives Digital Immigrants
Technology Avoiders Technology Avoiders
Technology Minimalists Reluctant Adopters
Enthusiastic Participants Enthusiastic Adopters
You may be relieved to know that regardless of when you were born, there are those in your category who avoid technology as much as possible. Similarly, there are some who grudgingly use technology, and then only minimally.
One of the challenges then is to know the limits of the technology you have in order to determine whether you need something else, or something more advanced.
For example, a common decision point is convenience over cost. The $300 professional grade digital camera, while portable, can’t compare against a cell phone for convenience. Contrasted against quality, and the cell phone camera (although vastly improved from the original) can’t compete with the $300 camera.
Along the same lines of convenience is utility. Staying with the $300 digital camera, aside from possible use as a digital video camera, most high end digital cameras do one thing very well; they take excellent photographs. Conversely while the cell phone takes adequate pictures, many also shoot video, act as web cameras, and a host of other features which increase their utility.
There is a limit. In the 1970’s there were several secret agent spoofs television shows, including Matt Helm (Dean Martin), and Derek Flint (James Coburn), where these agents had gadgets with dozens of different uses.
The idea of having a single device to perform multiple tasks is not new, but there is a limit. Currently miniaturization technology has not yet advanced to the level where the miniature devices truly quality challenges the full sized versions, but the innovation is forthcoming!
Here are some simple questions for you to ask to help you decide whether you’re in need of a technology upgrade.
- Identify the minimum acceptable results to consider the task complete.
- If you are an insurance claims adjuster, you may require high quality images of damages.
- If you are involved in a traffic accident, pictures you take at the scene will often be sufficient to make an initial claim.
- Consider how often you are likely to perform the task.
- If photography is your livelihood, rather than a hobby, single purpose technology might be warranted.
- If you’re an occasional photographic hobbyist, a multi-purpose device may suffice.
The afore mentioned questions will help you determine whether you need a technology upgrade, of if what you have is sufficient for the task.
If you decide you need a technology upgrade, here is a simple scale to help you prioritize what is most important to you in terms of using technology to complete your task.
- Rate the following considerations from 1 to 7, with 1 rated as most important and 7 rated as least important in terms of selecting technology:
1-7 Ease of Use
Once you’ve rated your technology selection criteria in terms of most important to least important, you can better choose your next steps.
Research, Research Research!
“The best time to learn about tech is before you need it!”
One of my favorite questions to ask when selecting new technology is, “what else can it do?” Many of us are very much aware that our cell phones will take pictures and send/receive text messages, but what else will they do?
With an estimated 1.2 million apps in iTunes and 1.5 in Google Play, there’s nearly no limit as to “what else they will do.” And that’s only considering the small mobile cell phone market. Expand that to include tablet, PC, and Mac mobile and desktop systems and you start to see how a little tech can go a long way.
Do You Need New Tech…or Do You Just Want it. Before you jump on the “something new is out so I need it” band wagon, check to see whether or not what you have will accomplish what you need.
You could be surprised at the number of hidden features and functions your device has. For example, did you know that for most IOS phones taking continuous pictures is just a matter of holding down the button?
While searching for a way to remove an annoying hissing sound from a video tutorial I produced, I saw my options as a) purchase a particular audio management application,
b) scrap the project and start over, or
c) outsource the cleanup task.
Given that I was creating this free tutorial as a brief help to my colleagues, the choices of (a) and (c) were not reasonable for me, and (b) scrap the project and start over would have resulted in the same issue.
I was fortunately to conduct an Internet search which disclosed someone who found another way to tackled the issue with free technology I was already using! Following his instructional video, I was able to remove the annoying hiss and provide a clean product!
Why re-invent the wheel, when you can springboard forward from the successes of others?
“Check your Tech, before you invest in something you might not really need.”