Auburn News

Changing Peoples’ Minds, Technically Speaking…

By August 30, 2010 No Comments

This is my last semester here at Auburn. Victory! The time has finally come for me to spread my wings and prepare to fly from this Eagle’s nest. (get it? Auburn?)

I am still here, thankfully, at the Alumni Association with some great folks who are going to help me get ready to take that anxiety producing plunge into “career mode”. This time around I am getting to do more social media and web development stuff. Words cannot describe how much I love it.

However, as a budding web developer and new media “professional”, I often notice, and shed a small tear over, some peoples’ ambivalence to embrace these new “door opening” technologies.

To pick a timely example, with each new change to Facebook, what follows is a flood of negative public response about how, “technology is taking over our lives!” and “I’ll never get on facebook again!”, which someone then comments, “me too!” and then shares it on their own profile to check back later and see if anyone else agrees. You see my point.

I honestly cannot help but chuckle at this weird conspiracy theory attitude we seem to have towards this stuff. Yes, Facebook has made some changes to their privacy settings, user permission stuff is a bit sketchier, etc. However, each time this happens, I see a flood of tech journalists and Facebook themselves laying out blog post after post about how to correct these things. I digress. So where is the problem? Does it lie in the technology itself or the fact that it’s forcing a population to learn and research things in a perhaps new and intimidating way?

People scoff at me when I tell them to go search Google for something…. WHY?! Aside from reading books and learning on the job, Google has helped me learn most of the digital media and design stuff that I know by putting me onto the plethora of free tutorials available out there! I love when people ask me, “how do you make something like that?” or “where did you learn how to do that?” I graciously and patiently open my multitude of bookmark folders and video links and just start sending them information. It’s like a nerd heaven.

I have started branching out on my own a little in terms of web design. I have been taking on some small businesses, creative professionals and other such things and doing sites pro bono. Getting paid in experience (or Goat cheese from one client… long story).

I have also wanted to take these ideas into some of the clubs I am involved in here on campus.  I see the great potential in getting new students exposed early on to the new, budding technologies and techniques. To be the game changers leading the pack.  Because a lot of this stuff is so new, in terms of education and how to teach it, why can’t we, Auburn, be the ones teaching it hardcore? Some schools have entire majors and curriculums dedicated to digital and interactive media design. Unfortunately sometimes the response by others has been somewhat hesitant. A hesitancy to do something different than how we have done things before?  Fear? I don’t know, but the time for action is now.

Despite my strong feelings, there is a much more valuable lesson to be learned here I believe.

One of the more important things I have learned, especially in dealing with some of the clients I have worked on designing and consulting with, is that the more easy going my attitude, the more open and comfortable they become with taking my ideas to heart and signing on board.

It’s a changing world out there, which means we too must change what and how we are doing things. However, one thing stays true I think and that’s having patience for others and working, as a communicator, to help people understand the vast new landscape to be explored in terms of digital communication.

I am shaping my career goals as we speak! It’s an amazing process to witness, even if it’s from a first-person viewpoint. I am discovering how much I love teaching people about computers and technology solutions.

I’ll keep everyone apprised.

In the meantime, here’s hoping that I changed your mind a little bit, technically speaking of course.