Yes, dammit, technology is hard

This week I want to say I’m sorry.

I’ve been doing a lot of technology cheerleading–on this blog, in my classes, on Twitter. I talk a lot about how easy technology can be, once you take the first step or allow yourself the freedom to play.

Then I read this post, called “It’s not freaking easy, okay?” by the awesomely fabulous Havi Brooks (I had already signed up for a course, Non-Icky Self-Promotion for People Who Hate Self-Promotion, that Havi is doing with the equally fabulous Naomi Dunford of IttyBiz, and I’m both thrilled and terrified that it starts tomorrow).

And I realized that when I chirpily say that technology can be fun, and that setting up a website is easy, or emailing your contact list with AWeber is easy, or that it’s easy to have fun playing around with Blogger, there’s an instant response that a lot of people have: “No it’s $!@&* not!”

I get that in a way I didn’t get it before. After all, I’m very quick to get defensive when an expert in something I know nothing about, like a car mechanic or an electrician, assures me that the very expensive thing they’re about to do is “easy.” I completely admire folks with those skills, and I’m totally willing to pay a high hourly rate so I can benefit from those skills. But if they tell me how easy it is, I feel like a dope for having to pay them to do it! And I also worry that they’re secretly laughing at me for my dopiness. Yikes! These are people I want and need to trust!

Now I know that my enthusiastic gushing about how fun and easy technology is could easily be perceived that exact same way (even though I have the best of intentions and I want to be encouraging and welcoming and all that).

So I’m sorry. I know that technology can be very, very hard. I know what it feels like to be so frustrated that I could gnaw through my laptop’s power cord. You know how there are times when you’ve read the entire freaking user manual, and you still can’t figure out how to make your computer do the one very simple thing you need to do? I’ve totally been there.

Recently, in fact. Just yesterday my husband asked me a tech question. He wanted to bookmark a blog so he could see the recent post titles right in the bookmark list, which was something he’d done before, and he couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working.

I said, “You can do that? I didn’t even know that was possible!” and I felt like a bit of a moron, because, after all, I’m supposed to be an expert in technology. Web technology especially. And blog stuff most especially of all. And I call myself a web coach!

This week’s heart of the matter: I’ll make you a deal. I’m going to be more conscious about saying things are easy. I’m not going to stop cheerleading, or teaching, or encouraging all of you to try something new. But I am going to acknowledge that this stuff can be scary, hard, and intimidating, and do my best to meet you where you are. Your part of the deal? Just show up fully where you are. Tell me what you need, and let me know how I’m doing. Don’t say “I can’t” when what you really mean is “I’m afraid,” or “I’ve never done this before,” or “I don’t want to learn something new.” Together, we can go places and do things we could never do on our own. What do you say, is it a deal?