On Sunday I traded my Blackberry phone for the Samsung Galaxy III phone. What have I done? The Blackberry was working just fine. I changed because I want to use my phone as a modem when I travel. I don’t play games, watch movies, need a touch screen, or want lots of colorful things on my screen. But now I have everything. It makes me feel terribly old.
It is NOT Intuitive
On Day One I got the thing activated, transferred my photos and contacts, learned how to “swipe” a screen (am I a cat?), sent a text, found my photos, tried to read the teeny-weeny manual (hah), and activated Gmail. I did not sleep peacefully that night.
On Day Two I got my other email addresses activated, read emails, lost emails, missed a bunch of calls, set an awful ring tone, and said “Ooh, Ahh” a few times. I tried to get rid of the thing that corrects my spelling, to no avail. (It corrects my spelling before I make a mistake because it is worried I just might. I actually can spell, so I want it to bug off.) I did not sleep peacefully that night either.
On Day Three I began to appreciate that the screen was clearer and the text larger. I got rid of a lot of screen icons I don’t want to see. My eyes thanked me. I took pictures and attached them to emails. Some of them turned out to be videos. I found the archive of old TV shows but quit when I was asked for my credit card.
Different Neural Pathways
If I was from Gen X or Y, I would be broadcasting from The Cloud about having acquired this way-cool, wondrous device on the first day it was available. I’d be webcasting, posting tutorials on YouTube, and bragging about how my blog was posted from the dog park. Of course, I could not post from the dog park because I haven’t figured out the Wi-Fi yet. Unlike Gen X and Y, I was not born with a keypad and touchscreen in my DNA. (But I can touch type AND write in cursive.)
On a phone call last week a much younger colleague recommended I check out a website. When later I emailed her with problems, she indignantly told me that it was spelled “klout.com”, not “clout.com”. I never realized that being the 4th grade spelling champion would be a handicap in my old age. I need to ask the spelling for everything, since nothing is spelled correctly anymore.
The generations that have grown up with this technology have different ways of learning and have created different neural pathways from those of the Baby Boomers. (This is both good and bad, but it requires a different blog to explain it. Stand by.)
Do Things That are Novel and Complex
Last year I attended a lecture given by Sandra Bond Chapman, Founder and Chief Director at the Center for Brain Health at UT Dallas. She reassured us that upgrading our phones was actually a good thing. The middle-aged and older audience hooted.
Dr. Chapman lectured for an hour on why “novel and complex” activity is a key factor in maintaining brain health as we age. Using a new smart phone requires our brains (which are quite comfortable not being challenged, thank you) to find new pathways to process the information. So I plod along learning a bit more about my swell smart phone each day.
Oops, just missed another call because I didn’t swipe the screen the right direction. Now, how do I check to see if they left me a voicemail?
Happy Independence Day, everyone!