Are You Comfortable with Technology? I’m No Luddite, but My iPhone’s Autocorrect Feature Drives Me Nuts Daily. And I’m Not Alone

by Anne Holmes on October 13, 2014

anne new photoWhen it comes to technology, I am not what marketers call an “Innovator.” I’m probably not even an “Early Adopter,” though I wish I were, because that’s where my husband fits into the bell curve of technology adoption.

If you refer to the chart below, I suspect I’m part of the leading edge of the “Early Majority.”  Though maybe it’d be more accurate to say I’ve been hanging on tight — kicking and screaming — as I ride the “trailing edge” of those confident Early Adopters. (technology-adoption-curveIt’s not necessarily a natural position, but one I’ve adopted, due to hanging around my technology trailblazing husband all these years!)

It was HIS avid interest in “All Things Tech” that led to the two of us attending the very first Internet World conference, held in San Francisco. That event took place about a decade ago, in late 1994, if memory serves. Internet World was a conference dedicated to Innovators, those brave people who are willing to trial new products/services. And we just may have been two of about five people from Iowa who attended that landmark event.

My husband had a blast there! He enjoyed hearing what was happening on the “bleeding edge” of technology  — not to mention all the the fun he had walking through the trade show talking to all the vendors. We literally stopped at every booth, to check out the merchandise and collect literature. This totally made sense for him, as he was the IT director for a university system at this time.  For me, this conference represented something of a paradigm shift. And eventually led to my decision to change careers.

internet worldAt the time, I was the marketing director for a regional advertising agency, where we used traditional tools like print ads, radio and television commercials, to deliver our clients’ messages to the world. No business entity had yet figured out how to direct customers to their web sites. Or even why they might want to!

Post Internet World, I — and a few other innovative marketers — realized that the advent of the World Wide Web had the potential to turn the Internet into a HUGE marketing tool.  I recognized that it wouldn’t be long before the Internet — via the Web — would quickly become a lot more than a way for scientists to communicate globally via dial-up modems! And my husband and I stood ready to help businesses open their doors to the world, via the development of marketing-focused web sites…

Now, given that bit of background, let’s get back to my discussion of technology adoption.

It’s my suspicion that Innovators typically begin using a new product or service  primarily for the excitement and personal satisfaction of being one of the few to be actually using it. Not to mention just knowing what it is… (And equally importantly, innovators accept that new products/services often contain bugs/problems/hickups, but they view these issues as an acceptable part of the process.)

Which is why technology-based companies target innovators and early adopters when they release their earliest versions of their product. And why my husband installed cell phones in our cars back in the days when they actually had to be INSTALLED. Anyone else remember those big “brick” cell phones?

Not everyone saw a reason to adopt one of those behemoths. But technology evolved, society adapted, and now it seems that anyone who doesn’t have a tiny little cell phone in their pocket these days is a confirmed Luddite.

These days, I try to keep this Early Adopter/Luddite concept front and center in my mind whenever my iPhone’s autocorrect feature challenges me. Which seems to be just about every day.  But gosh-darn it, I have accidentally texted some really bizarre messages to family and friends.  (You  know how thris goes, don’t you? You type it into your phone correctly,So many that I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that someone has been collecting them and someday they’ll be published as a joke book!

So I knew I’d found a kindred spirit a few months ago, when I came across a column by Amy Gilligan in my local daily newspaper, the Dubuque Telegraph Herald. In it, she addresses her frustration with her phone’s autocorrect feature.

There’s really no better way to share her entertaining article than to just post the whole darn thing. So here it is. Enjoy!

And feel free to post a message below, sharing any (printable) Autocorrect messages YOUR phone may have generated!


Days of texting Taliban might be over

By Amy Gilligan, Managing Editor
Dubuque Telegraph Herald

Dear Autocorrect:

I think it’s time we had a little chat. Technology has become so personalized, I have become blasé when I see the brand of shoes I love pop up in ads on my Facebook page. It’s not just a coincidence when I get emailed book recommendations for the book I’m reading. I’ve come to expect to get coupons for the stores I’m planning to go to.

But you, Autocorrect, despite having a constant diet of my data, you really don’t know me. You’re right there on my smartphone, which has managed to figure out who I call the most and put them at my fingertips. But Autocorrect, we just don’t seem to be speaking the same language.

I’m not talking about, “I say potato, you say po-tah-to.” When I say potato, you say” Plato” or “presto” or “Play-doh” or any number of words I wouldn’t typically text. I don’t know where you live, Autocorrect, but where I come from, Plato Salad isn’t a thing. Neither is baked Play-doh. Or presto chips.

What is it with you and the word “thanks”? I would wager that a good 40 percent of the texts I send are just a simple thank you. And, yet, you cannot seem to get this. As a rule of thumb, I am never going to send anyone a one-word text that says simply, “tusks” or “tasks” or “Thalia” or “Tesla” or “Ghana.”

I didn’t even know what Thalia was until one of the smart alecks I was trying to thank asked why I was referencing the ancient Greek muse of poetry. You see, Autocorrect, I’m not pontificating about Greek poetry here, I just want to say thanks. Is that so difficult?

I think if you tried, Autocorrect, you could learn a little more about me. For instance, I am more likely to describe a person as “awesome” than as an “arsonist.” If I were going to convey to a friend that another friend or acquaintance is an arsonist, that kind of news would probably warrant a phone call rather than a text.

When I am discussing cooking, it is far more likely that I am using the adjective “Italian” than “Taliban.” No one likes Taliban meatballs or Taliban dressing. In fact, not being a terrorist or a foreign diplomat, the word Taliban rarely makes it into my conversation via text.

Another tip: If I am having a big party, I might want to borrow a crockpot from a friend, but things generally don’t reach the point of desperation that I would be looking for a crackpipe.
Also: I might refer to something simple to eat as an “easy dinner.” How you construe “easy” as “warty,” and “dinner” as, well, something inappropriate … gosh, Autocorrect, what do you think I’m having for dinner?

Can we just agree to leave some words in the vault, and I’ll learn to live without them in my smartphone vocabulary? You can keep your “Taliban” and your “crackpipe” and all things “warty.” I’ll muddle through without those key phrases and you work on getting to know me a little better. I think we’ll both be happier.

My texts will make more sense and I can stop cursing you on a daily basis.
Thalia, Amy.
Ugh. You know what I mean.

NOTE: This article was originally published in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald on June 1, 2014.

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