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Not that long ago, I was contemplating starting my blog. I was dutifully writing my business plan and taking an in-depth course to make certain it would be a viable business. Yep, I am organized and disciplined like that. However, there was this 800-pound gorilla in the room I was ignoring; building and maintaining my website. Gulp! My stomach would tighten every time I thought about it. I looked forward to it as much as a root canal. At that point, I would have given my tech savviness a low grade, indeed.
It seems, with each year that passes, I’ve gotten braver about trying new things, but not technology. I resist it. For example, I put off opening a Facebook account as long as possible, and I don’t know how to use the camera on my iPhone sufficiently. If you are like me, you have relied on the tech wizards in your life to save you from digital disaster. And I’m certain they just loved fixing your problems, right? Fortunately, I’ve discovered other resources available to reluctant learners and late bloomers. Here are 5 easy ways to boost your tech savviness:
1. YouTube Videos
YouTube.com is my go-to for computer and website issues because I need visuals to comprehend instructions of a technical nature. It’s difficult for me to follow a technician’s direction over the phone. Frankly, it fries my brain. With YouTube videos, I can pause when necessary and proceed at the pace I want until the task is complete.
With technology, you’re going to want to filter your search on YouTube. I don’t bother with anything older than one year. Although, I suppose it could be nostalgic to watch a tutorial about flip phones from 2007, but not relevant. I also look for a good thumbs up to thumbs down ratio, so I know it’s informative and high quality. However, most videos don’t have many viewer ratings when they’re new. Below is an example of an instructional YouTube video on how to start a subscription box business.
2. Read All About It
So, you’re saying you don’t need images or video to broaden your skillset or graduate from digital ninja school. All you require are daily or weekly posts to keep you in the know. Lucky for you, the web is packed with quality articles from trusted tech blogs, each with a different personality.
Women Love Tech blends product and app reviews with industry news and tips about social media.
Mashable mixes tech, social media, and entertainment into a bit of a “tech stew” that is quite digestible.
Gizmodo is funny and snarky and caters to a youngish audience.
TechCrunch profiles startups and up-and-coming companies and reviews products.
Girl About Tech offers how-to articles, buying advice, and product reviews.
Social Media Examiner brings you the latest news about platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
3. Take A Class or Two
Maybe you’re not intimidated by technology, but your skills are questionable. Your friends have shown you amazing pictures or movies produced on their devices while you take ho-hum photos that impress no one. Family members share messages, invitations, and calendar events with ease while you struggle with the same. Coworkers create presentations quickly, and you find it difficult to compete. Well, there’s a simple solution to those dilemmas.
CreativeLive is an online streaming education provider that supplies free and low-cost classes on topics like photography and video to website and WordPress. The sheer number of courses for you to choose from is impressive. Blog Village offers writers hundreds of video lessons to browse, live chats to participate in, a private Facebook group to join and more. You can choose from beginner, intermediate, and advanced workshops to suit your needs.
Several large retailers offer free or inexpensive courses for their smartphones, tablets, cameras, and laptops. The Apple Store holds classes for all experience levels on Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, photography, videography, iCloud, and Keynote presentation software. Best Buy provides training seminars to help master your digital camera and many Samsung devices. Verizon offers Wireless Workshops for Android, iPhone, and tablets.
4. AARP TEK
Most of you who are fifty or older are familiar with AARP and its services. But, did you know the company has an online education program called AARP Academy that can boost your tech savviness to new heights? Best of all, the courses provided are free and available to all ages. Most of the training is targeted to novices and newbies. However, the number of videos and webinars accessible is impressive.
Not surprisingly, there are the standard classes on social media, tablets, and smartphones. AARP also offers courses about online safety, including wifi, email, and passwords. Interestingly, the company also promotes informational webinars on topics like medical apps, wearable health devices, and on-demand access to medical experts. Pretty thorough, don’t you think?
— Bobby Umar (@raehanbobby) December 17, 2016
5. Listen Up
Okay, so you’re not into watching videos or reading posts (except mine, of course). I get it; you’re an auditory learner, also known as a good listener. Perhaps a few weekly podcasts will pique your interest and raise your tech IQ. Plus, you can enjoy them in the car which is not recommended for blog readers. Here is a sampling of a few great shows:
Nerdette is a “safe space for nerds.” The hosts explore the digital universe through compelling interviews and interesting chats.
TedTalks Technology is exactly what you think it is. Speakers give inspirational and informative talks about research and breakthroughs in tech. Think of it as an uplifting, educational, and perhaps geeky speech.
This Week In Tech is a popular, long-running show with roundtable discussions about trends, the latest products, and new technologies.
Rocket is hosted by three clever ladies who focus their energetic conversations on books, movies, games, comics, and a litany of other topics.