Bridging the Gap

28 02 2008

technology_v1.jpgSince I’ve started working part time at Radio Shack, I’ve noticed a few trends. For instance, customers want to feel like I know what I am talking about. It’s actually more important for me to sound like I know what’s going on than for me to actually know and not be able to explain. There’s a lot I could say about that, but that’s not what this post is about. Another thing I’ve noticed is this – It’s not that older customers don’t want to understand how to work new-fangled technology, it’s they’re embarrased they don’t already get it.

The moment I use words like “internet” or “wireless” or “digital” I get the

“HAHA, slow down there. I can’t keep up with that. You might as well be speaking espagnole” (that last part is more appalachia than age)

But there’s more to this situation than Mr. Rodgers not being able to understand that you can actually get to the “land of make-believe” via URL rather than the trolley. Who can blame them for using they’re AARP card as a way out an awkward conversation that they might not be able to keep up with? Honestly, how many times have you given the old head nod and laughed at the appropriate time when someone’s talking over your head? Not to say they have anything to be ashamed of, but it’s a little awkward when someone assumes you’re on their level, and your not.

In a New York Times article, we see this gap between the technologically savvy and those who aren’t is widening. According to them the highest fifth of streaming-media users watch 140 times more video than the lower half. In order for the new media idea to work, these numbers have to change. True, in this situation, time will heel the wound as the older generation passes on, but today we have an opportunity.

Instead of having them come to our web site, or buy our iPhone, or read my blog, why don’t we put these things in their hands? The way we have been presenting these new toys has not been senior-friendly. I suggest instead of teaching old dogs new tricks, we have them do the same tricks but with better rewards. Why not?

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2 responses

3 03 2008
Maria

for christmas, i got my grandpa some software that he can use to make his own digital pictures into actual postage stamps.

he’s still figuring out how to use the camera.

6 03 2008
jen

grandma was pretty good there for a while with the computer…now her emails look like the cat walked on the keyboard…but hey, she’s the only grandma i know who uses email!

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