Say it now and say it loud: "I'm a newbie, and I'm proud!"Newbies: your tech unfamiliarity is just a first step on ladder of learning
- 31 March, 2008
- 5 comments
I delivered a presentation today to the folks at Metro Vancouver (the level of government formerly known as the Greater Vancouver Regional District) on the social web and local government. It was a great group, with lots of lively discussion.
One of the members of the audience introduced herself to me as a "techno-peasant". It's a term I hear a lot from people, often with a rueful smile. But something about the term has always rubbed me the wrong way - and today I realized what it was.
The feudal system didn't offer peasants - or their children - very much in the way of advancement in their status: once a peasant, always a peasant. (The only way out was to either revolt, wait for history to take its toll on the status quo, or find some member of the nobility to whom you bore an uncanny resemblance, and then let Mark Twain step in.)
To me, "techno-peasant" conveys that same doomed sense of permanence. So I asked if she might prefer the term "newbie", which suggests that this is a temporary state, and that she's on a trajectory to becoming a, er, oldbie. She seemed delighted by the idea.
So I'll suggest that to you, too. Any time someone calls themselves a techno-peasant, grasp them by the shoulders, give them a bracing shake and tell them, "No, my friend. You're a newbie. And together, we will overthrow the hierarchy, close the digital divide and bring justice to the web!"
Let me know how that works for you.
And my thanks again to the folks at Metro Vancouver, and Greg Valou for inviting me.