So, I followed the link posted by lo-fi librarian a few days ago, and looking at that chart, at first I was surprised by the low takeup of my generation (yup, I’m a Gen Xer too, though I’ve yet to read the book), and then, thinking about my own experiences, began to think that perhaps it’s not so surprising really.
After all, who’s teaching us?
I feel like the generation that was overlooked.
For example, typing skills when I was at school were something you learned if you weren’t going to go to University, and instead were going to have to go out and get a ‘proper’ job when you left school. So I was never taught to type, as it was regarded as a ‘menial’ skill, not for us Uni-destined types. Yet within the timescale I was at Uni, it went from being acceptable to submit handwritten work, to it only being acceptable to submit in 12 point type, with 1.5 line spacing to allow space for comments! When was I meant to have learned how to wordprocess? As a result, I’m a 2/3 fingered typist, rapidly developing RSI, and wondering when I can spare the time to totally relearn how to type. And wondering if I CAN relearn how to type…
Then, for my postgrad qualification, I found I was expected to be able to give presentations and effectively use Powerpoint. Where was I meant to have learned about that? Another ‘ from new to essential’ development within 3 – 4 years!
So, if I’m just expected to ‘know’ how all these programmes and tools work (and yes, I know most workplaces will provide training in these skills now, but at the point when I was learning them, unis weren’t really great on training you on things they they often didn’t fully understand themselves yet!), am I soon also going to be expected to know about social media and Web 2.0 technologies? Where am I meant to be learning about these? If I wasn’t reasonably interested in these topics, and didn’t enjoy hunting out information (is that a librarian personality requirement?) how would I find out about them? How does information on these things get through to the average person of my age?
It would be very easy to know very little about what’s going on, if you’re not technically or information-finding inclined. Why would you know what a wiki is? Wouldn’t Wikipedia just be an interesting name, without a reason for the ‘wiki’ part? Wouldn’t blogs just sound like boring diaries, instead of a new style of journalism and professional contact?
How does information on technical developments get through to the majority?
Maybe it’s time for a pop quiz on some friends…the ones who aren’t really active online, find out what they know about, and why they know what they know…hmmm….