As someone who works from a computer and her phone I’m no stranger to technology. I feel confident in what I’m doing and know my way around and there’s no limit to what I could learn. Even now the job I have as a blogger has me learning every day; there’s always something I didn’t know before but that I can pick up easily enough and implement it in a way that benefits me.
For me, it’s always been like this. In my last post I spoke about how the ball got rolling and since I grabbed on to the ball, over 20 years ago, my digital confidence and knowledge has grown and grown, and continues to do so. This is not the same for everyone. Other people live in much simpler times; no smart phones, some still write letters and others still have a black and white TV. However, it’s now very much getting to the point where we need to be involved with the digital age – even if it’s minimal. Times are moving on and it’s very rare that you’re not communicating using some kind of technology.
Of course it’s easy to assume that this is solely aimed at those of an older generation, but it’s not. There are people out there in their mid thirties who still lack the ability to perform, what I would consider, basic tasks on a computer. It could be that they’ve never had the technology available to them, perhaps they had no interest or maybe they’re just unable to grasp the concept of anything digital or ‘smart’.
Last week I attended an event hosted by Post Office Broadband at the Millennium Library in Norwich. They teamed up with Google Digital Garage to offer a free digital training session where anyone could come and ask for support, help or advice for any device they may have; whether it was asking what ‘WhatsApp’ was, how the ‘Cloud’ worked, how to switch something on or how they could start a blog!
I met some incredible people across a broad age range who each had something in common. The desire to learn. To know more. And I met people who basically knew it all; the Google Digital Garage team.
Bonnie is just one of the lovely ladies who came along to this session and she was an absolute delight. I didn’t get her age but she was of the older generation. She was a lady who knew what she wanted and what she liked but she wanted to know more. We spoke briefly about how she loves to listen to music while she’s out and about and how she had tried to move from a small MP3 player to an iPod! Turns out she couldn’t really work the iPod and opted to buy a second MP3 player when her first broke. Mostly she wanted to come in and have a play around on a couple of devices but we all got talking – Bonnie, Lyndsey, Rebecca and I, along with Lily from The Post Office.
By the end of the session she knew about things like Pinterest (God help her, it’s a rabbit hole!), Canva (so she could create leaflets for her choir and also Christmas cards) and all about blogging, how we got started and how it’s our life. She couldn’t believe that we probably couldn’t go very long on social media without someone wondering if something bad had happened. It’s a totally different way of life for us than it is for her – but then I don’t think many people do ‘get’ blogging if they don’t do it themselves.
More Of The Day
There were two ladies who dropped by during the session who were friends. Each had a few different questions about their devices and it felt so good to be able to sit down with them and talk through the answer step by step, and confident in my own knowledge. I even impressed myself on the day by working out how to use an Android (I’m very much an Apple girl)!
We had a really lovely conversation talking about how technology and the digital age had progressed since they were younger and how they were struggling to keep up with it; however, they both knew that so much happens ‘online’ that they couldn’t miss out on family updates and were determined to know how things worked. They came across lots of new terminology and they were so grateful to have had a safe and comfortable space where they could just bring their devices in to come and learn, ask for advice and be able to do so without any judgement, but with tea and biscuits.
Another gentleman, who I didn’t get to speak an awful lot to, even set up his own blog there and then! It felt like one of those ‘proud mama’ moments. He explained that he speaks out a lot on his Facebook profile and often gets told of for it. But, the guy’s an insomniac, has an opinion and he wants to voice it – if blogging isn’t the way to do that, then I don’t know what is! We sent him on his way with a few words of wisdom and he was over the moon to have had the help.
Why Sessions Like This?
When asked where these drop-in sessions had stemmed from it came down to a passion to provide. To comfortably provide a service to those who require it; how can you be a service provider to someone, but then not offer them a service by where they can learn more about it and how to use it? A place they can go to find help and advice.
Bridging that digital gap is absolutely a priority and passion for all those involved in these pilot drop in sessions and I really hope that they continue after seeing, and experiencing first hand, the success of the one in Norwich.
The experts from Google were absolutely amazing and after listening to them speak with those who had dropped in with seemingly simply questions it occurred to me that it’s not all about providing the ‘how to’, it’s also about providing confidence. So many people were unsure of their actions, worried they’d break or mess up whatever they were trying to do and just because someone from Google gave them the thumbs up, it was like someone had flicked a switch.
To make sure I’m the most ‘up-to-scratch’ I can be, I’ll definitely be looking out for the next Post Office X Google Digital Garage drop in session for myself and I’ve already started an online course with Google Digital Garage. Even if it means I become ‘certified’ in the most basic knowledge, I’ll know I’m doing everything I can to make sure that I’m along for this digital ride.
The truth is that technology is fast becoming, if it isn’t already, the core of all society and communication. It’s incredibly central to my life, and many others around me and it’s hard to know whether even my own knowledge is dated.
If you’d like to know more about the drop in sessions or find out when there may be one coming to your area then please do keep up to date here.
*This is a collaborative post. All views, opinions and experiences are my own.