Dealing with Technophobia (fear of technology)

By Sandra Clitter  

As some of you may have picked up during these discussions, while I am often considered a ‘techie’ by people who are intimidated by technology, I’m really not an early adopter (typically) of technology. I tend to take my time, allow other people to ‘take the lumps’, and then, when the technology (whatever it is) gains a little bit of traction (or ‘a-lot-a-bit’ of traction), I’ll consider including it into my technology portfolio. I consider my approach prudent. You can argue with that, but that tends to be my approach.

That said, there are certain people who are really technophobes. Wikipedia defines ‘technophobia’ as:
The fear or dislike of advanced technology or complex devices, especially computers. The term is generally used in the sense of an irrational fear, but others contend fears are justified. (Wikipedia definition)

I do NOT consider myself a technophobe, but I can be resistant to adopting new technologies.

Currently, I am being resistant to several things:
1. Office 2007/2010 (Office 2003 is just so darned comfortable)
2. Trying a Mac (I don’t know why…I tell myself I don’t want to pay the premium for the Apple product, yet I have an iPod)
3. Digital Book Readers (I like the ‘feel’ of a book in my hand)

Here’s what I’ve found helps when I’m feeling overwhelmed by all the technology around me:

1. Find someone else who has/uses that technology and try it out – or get them to show you the BASICS (note: the BASICS, not all the fancy stuff). It’s far less scary when you try it with someone who already uses it.

2. See if there is a portion of the technology that you can try before you fully commit. A couple of examples are: a. Test out the ‘trial period’ version of software. Oftentimes, you can get a 30 day peek at a software without shelling out the dollars. Then, at the end of the 30 days, if you like it, you can purchase it. b. Sign up for a service and just lurk. Watch what happens. Social Media is a prime example of this. Just because you sign up for a Facebook account doesn’t mean that you HAVE to actively participate. ‘Friend’ a couple of people (or accept one or two friend requests that you already have out there). ‘Like’ a merchant or organization that you want information from. Sit back and watch…you’ll get the feel for it without a huge time investment.

3. Determine whether its something that you’ve ‘gotta have’ or whether you’re doing it ‘because everyone else is’. In this day and age, you probably HAVE TO HAVE a computer, but you don’t NEED TO HAVE the biggest/fastest one.

4. Wait a bit – until the initial adoption phase is over. Let someone else work out the big kinks. Just don’t kid yourself that 2-3 years is the ‘breaking in period’…in that amount of time, the technology has changed totally.

5. Don’t worry about ‘everyone else’ using it/doing it. If the technology that you have does what you need it to do, stick with it until it breaks. THEN invest in the more modern technology. Not only will you have fewer issues because other people have shaken the kinks out, but it will probably cost less because you won’t be paying for that ‘latest gadget’ premium.


  1. Posted February 20, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink | Reply

    Such a small thinkg. 😉 But such a great idea

  2. Kathy Testa
    Posted February 2, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great post! I totally hear you on being resistant to change, but I have to say most of the time, change is good!

    I’m using Office 2007 – probably at least once a day, I’m cursing in my head, thinking “Now where did they hide that function??” But then the voice of reason kicks in, I take a deep breath, and I eventually find what I’m looking for.

    Last summer, we got Droid phones. Again, I was resistant at first, but once I got a hang of it, I can’t imagine going back. I love it!

    Good advice!

    • Posted February 2, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hey, Kathy!!

      I agree…most of the time, once you make the change you wonder why you were all stuck in the past.

      Pressing F1 to get help in Office 2007 (or 2010) is a great way to find a feature that they hid on you. Just put the name of the feature you can’t locate in the Search box, and they’ll tell you where to find it!

      Like you, I switched from a Blackberry to a Droid last fall – and I don’t think that I’d ever go back. There are a couple of things that I miss on the Blackberry, but so many more fun/functional features are available on the Droid that I’m more than happy.

      Thanks for checking in!

  3. Posted January 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m always amazed that in all that you do you find the time to write such clear, cogent blogs. Thanks, Sandy, this was something I needed to hear.

    • Posted January 26, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Judith, thank you so much for your kind words! They mean a great deal. I just try to share things that I find myself pondering. Hope it helps you out…do not despair…you CAN bite off one item and digest it before eating the whole thing!

  4. Posted January 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I think there’s a difference, Sandy, between technophobia and wanting to hold onto things that already work and work well.

    I’m not really an early adopter (at least by the definitions I’ve read) but I join things pretty early. I think 7 of the cars I’ve owned were in their first year of sales when I bought them (OK… I admit to having owned a Gremlin AND a Pacer – now THOSE where were the days!). I have an Android phone and now use Google for my calendar, contacts, and email.

    But, as you indicated, I didn’t jump out to get them as soon as they were announced.

    And my 2001 small SUV is great for me. And until I changed to a MacBook Pro 12 months ago, I was still using Outlook and Word from 2003 versions.

    So don’t worry about the labels – use what still works really well for you (learning all these new-fangled things is a real time suck) but then jump in with both feet for the new technologies when you need to.

    Charlie Seymour Jr

    • Posted January 26, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Charlie, you’re absolutely correct – there IS a difference between hanging on to that which works well and being a technophobe. I guess the difference lies in being willing to try out new things when the old doesn’t work too well…or feeling sick to your stomach when you have to try something new…or pretending that the new just doesn’t exist, or absolutely doesn’t apply to you (well, it might not, but it might…you have to at least consider it) :-)!

      You had a Pacer!?!?! So did I! It was a Pacer station wagon none the less! Friends referred to it as the pregnant roller skate…and it was true!! That’s what it looked like! …and speaking of trying new things…when I sold the Pacer, I bought a stick-shift – and I’d never driven a stick shift in my life!!! I picked the car up, and drove it (stuttering all the way) off the lot – not willing to admit that I didn’t know how to drive the car! Bad enough, but to top it off, the town where I bought it? Ithaca, NY – land of MAJOR hills – there are no flat roads – anywhere near town!! Oh, did I ever learn quickly!!!! Talk about jumping in with both feet!

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