The truth about technophobia


Technophobia is the fear or dislike of advanced technology or complex devices, especially computers. Although there are numerous interpretations of technophobia, they seem to become more complex as technology continues to evolve at such an unstoppable rate. The term is generally used in the sense of an irrational fear, but others contend fears are justified – Wikipedia

When I quit university in 1991 after just one semester, I went on the dole. That lasted about one month before my mum and dad both kicked me up the arse with these loving words: “No daughter of mine is going to be a dole-bludger”.

With such noble endorsements and life-altering affirmations ringing in my ears, I had soon enrolled in a computer course through the Salvation Army where I learned something very new called Word Perfect.

Like so many Gen Xers, computers were only starting to make a mark in the wider world when I was in high school in the mid to late 80s. I don’t know if I even used one at all when I was a student. When I was at school, my mum made me learn typing, which I did on an old archaic manual typewriter, even though I promised myself I would never be a secretary. At that time, I had no idea that being able to touch-type would hold me in very good stead many years later when I became a journalist. In fact, I could bang out three stories to most people’s one. And hopefully it was quality AND quantity not just one over the other.

For about 10 years, in my 20s, I considered myself to be fairly up-to-speed with new technologies. I got my first Hotmail address in 1997 and still use the same address – which admittedly has a name which reflects my love of disco music at that time – today.  I got my first mobile about the same time – and rue that decision every single day. I even did a minor in IT at university during the late 1990s.

Then, well, I’m not too sure what happened. I started working at newspapers, which we all know now have not been the best at keeping up to date with modern technologies. And before I knew it I was eons behind everyone else and became a very very very late adopter of any new technologies whatsoever.

These days I don’t own an iPad, I still use my DVD player, and I finally got an iPhone about four years after they were released.  I recently learned how to download movies onto my lap-top and watch them via something extraordinary called a USB cable. My brother had to came over to help me install a digital set-top box a few weeks ago because my TV is so old it’s analogue.

This blog site was designed by a friend and hosted and managed by him for a year too (thanks again Chris). But I decided a few weeks ago that it was time for me to stand on my own two feet and be a big girl. I organised a new web-host, decided on the day that I would finally take control, and then I flipped a switch and promptly killed my website. I think it took me all of five minutes to destroy something that had been a year in the making. Fuck.

I spent the next hour or so in a state of blind panic because I had absolutely no idea how I had killed 12 months of witty musings and anecdotes. I tried to get some answers from the new web-host but they were more than useless and so my terror deepened further. I suppose my reaction was due to the fact that I was completely clueless about what I was actually doing. Which you have to admit is not a very good place to start at all.

After about an hour of heart palpitations and anxiety attacks, I once again went cap in hand to my friend who like a hero on a white horse managed to salvage and valiantly resurrect this blog site. Thank fuck for that. There are still a few gremlins floating around and for that I apologise but I’ll take a few of them over a blank murdered website any day.

What I learned from this very valuable techno-lesson is that the next time I want to do anything vaguely technological, I am going to open my wallet as wide as humanly possible and hand out $50 notes with wild, joyful abandon. Saves having a bloody heart attack.

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