Friday, November 29, 2019

When a tool becomes social

The divide between techie and non-techie has blurred, but it didn’t happen by converting the entire population into techies.

The buzzword in the tech skill surveys of the early 2000s was ICT: information and communications technologies. But the information and the communication parts need to be analyzed separately.

It’s true that the generations born into the internet would become intimately comfortable with an online social life, just like the generations born into the telephone or the automobile didn’t find themselves alienated by a disembodied voice crackling down a wire or alarmed by the prospect of traveling above sixty miles an hour.

But unlike for Old Internet People, there’s barely any relationship between how well a Full Internet Person can socialize via computers and how well they can talk to the computer itself. The first car drivers were all skilled mechanics, because the vehicles broke down so regularly, but as cars became mainstream, they needed to be drivable even by people who didn’t know an oil pump from a carburetor.

As computers, too, became usable even by people who’d never “looked under the hood,” the relationship between tech skills and internet socialization loosened.
Source: Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch

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