The Non-Techies

This week I have come to realise that the majority of my friends and family have no idea what I’m talking about when I try to explain my job and interests. They don’t work with computers on a regular basis and don’t see the fascination in them, you can’t assume anything about your audience and the jargon you use.

When you immerse yourself in technology, work with computers, develop websites and read a lot about the subject, you begin to think that everyone must know at least some of the same things you do. After all, there are tens of thousands of articles on any computer related subject on the internet and the things that make it tick – how can they not know?

Interfacing with ‘Them’

After my brother had read the previous post, he wrote back to me in an email with:

Oh my God, you’re such a GEEK!

Then when trying to explain what Windows Live Mail was to a friend in the pub, I thought I had used the right level of wording but this was the outcome:

Her: So what’s Live Mail?

Me: It’s really just a different interface for Hotmail.

Her: What’s an interface?

Me: …

Later I told a fellow techie friend what had happened, adding that she is an intelligent girl, and I was told to question that fact. So I did and I think that when people associate you with subjects they don’t understand, they begin to question things they do know. I’m pretty sure she knew what an interface was, just not in conjunction with the internet.

Big Up Me Biog

I was listening to The Chris Moyles Show, as I do every day on Listen Again at work, and they were discussing MySpace. Chris mentioned his online diary and said it was a blog, but he didn’t like saying it because he still didn’t really know what it meant.

Comedy Dave had a theory:

I don’t know if this makes me sound old, but I think it’s just Biog (as in Biography) spelt and pronounced wrongly by the ‘yoof’ of today.

The whole Chris Moyles team agreed this was the most likely theory. Surely they are in a minority? Please? Technorati reported that they were tracking the creation of 70,000 new blogs every day – about 1 a second – covering everything from art to zoos. So they definitely aren’t just for the technically minded.

Are there terms you’ve had trouble explaining to non-techies, or what have you found difficult to understand in relation to computers?

Tags:

2 Responses to “The Non-Techies”

  1. How says:

    Mmmm. Being a usability guy I’m even more screwed than the techies. Nobody, outside the usability crowd, gets what I do. When I explain it they are like “so you do common sense?”. God if only common sense was so easily distilled.

    At least people can be fooled into seeing value in what the techies do ;)

    Ho ho… *sigh*.

  2. Keysie says:

    Things could be worse, take my job title for example, I’m an application packager, say that to someone and the response will be “Sooooo, you put applications into boxes. Right?”. The worst thing is, I’ve now started to just say yes.

Leave a Reply