Editor’s note: This post is by my OMGBFF Holden Page, who’s a freelance writer and social media whiz living in St. Paul.
On Imgur, the headline for this image is “watching my parents use a computer.”
Honestly, I feel kind of left out. Typically my version of “good fucking Jesus Christ how do you not understand,” is reserved for debates about politics with my father, and justifying various life decisions to my mother. Not once have I used this look explaining anything computer related to my parents.
That’s because they are kind of fucking awesome at technology. If they have questions, it’s not because they clicked on pop-ups telling them to clean their computer. There’s a legit problem, and their son is abnormally nerdy enough to embrace the challenge.
While I have always blamed my parents for robbing me of an opportunity to complain about them, it seems members of my generation have managed to fill the hole they left.
This may be a surprise to some; after all, my generation invented the art of selfies, sharing meaningless status updates, and editing pictures of our food. But there is a massive gap between being proficient at sharing your life, and understanding technologies that operate these systems.
It turns out everyone sucks at the latter half.
This first became clear to me during my short stint at a student newspaper. Charged with redesigning the WordPress site, it quickly became apparent that my peers had no idea what they were doing.
Random plug-ins invaded areas of WordPress I hardly knew existed. Parts of WordPress I considered immune to dysfunction caved under the weight of poorly coded premium themes. Over three people managed one WordPress site, only one of whom who had any experience with basic HTML.
While this disfunction certainly bothered me, it still wasn’t enough to induce the look of pure and utter defeat displayed so well by the .GIF above.
No, what induced my personal WTF moment is when the student writers I talked to were scared to use WordPress.
Scared to tinker, to play, to break. And to make better. They clutched to their papers in mock nostalgia, and insisted that the process they put in place was fine. Nevermind that the site regularly went down, updates had stalled for months, and the mundane process of simply writing was convoluted beyond repair.
In short, they were scared to change.
Digital natives were scared to change, to learn and to grow.
It was this lack of adventure that made me quit the student paper. Sure, I changed what I could. I made the site operational, and it continues to operate at a nice clip to this day. But no one was passionate about this change, and many simply ignored it.
This is a far cry from my parents, who met their frustration with technology with an equal amount of wonder and opportunity.
Which brings me to my greater point: It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, chances are you suck at technology if you don’t meet the change necessary with wonder, opportunity and a willingness to break things.
I will reserve my bewildered facial expressions for people who are unwilling to do those things.
You should, too.