Friday, August 10, 2007

Thoughts on Later Adapters

I'm listening to Loudmouthman and Jeff Pulver on the PulverTV show and they are talking about the reactions of people to their most recent missives on the subject of social media. They were noting that VoIP seems to be taking off but there is a slowness to grasp the value of social networks.

The thought that occurred to me is that people have a framework with which they view the world. For most this means that things that do not fit their paradigm just do not make sense. I think VoIP is close enough to phone that that is something they can grasp the value of (and free VoIP services help - it offers something they use for free.)

The temptation, given the above, is to describe the new technologies in terms of older technologies to help them grasp the new ones. Although as a teaching tool analogies are very useful and may well bring the later adapters online, the question I have is do these analogies limit us. When we see new technologies in terms of new ways to do old things (which I will admit I often see those patterns) does it limit our ability to see how new technologies can offer something new or allow us to something new - other than the same thing faster and shinier.

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1 comment:

ReducedHackers said...

Goldie, thanks for your comments and thoughts. Theres something I quote from Ecclesiastes : " What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. " It a insightful view on the fact that we constantly reinvent. Which is why the wheel is round and yet can only be reinvented if only to make it better. but I digress ( and get metaphysical ! ).

Do they limit us and our perceptions. Oh absolutely and utterly. After all the further up the hill you travel ( the later adpoters ) the fewer paths there are to reach the top. Those of us who enjoy the journey and reach for mountains ( because they are there ) are usually found seeking paths and opportunities.

Nik Butler