Re: Ageism

Subject: Re: Ageism
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Sat, 19 Oct 1996 18:32:00 EST

To my comments on ageism, Teresa wrote:

<my original>
>> Point taken. However, I have to say that while I've learned not to make
>> unwarranted assumptions on the basis of age (I once knew a man in a pattern
>> design shop who was pushing retirement age when he _started_ doing
>> computer-based design and was soon one of the state's authorities on the
>> software), nonetheless I think most of us would agree that there is a
>> positive correlation in the business world between age and the reluctance to
>> embrace and learn the newest technologies. I, myself, am 40 and quite
>> computer literate, yet I still sometimes yearn for the old card catalogs at
>> the library.

<Teresa's reply>
>Well, in my office, I am older than most of the other employees, but have
>more knowledge of compute, both the programs and the machines than 95% of
>all of them.

>I think that it is not age that is in question, but the quest for
>information and the desire to learn.

>Once we learn to not be afraid of the machine, I think that as we mature,
>we want to learn more. Contrary to the mention above, I do not yearn for
>old catalogs and manual methods of doing things. I would much rather
>design a new method of working with the computer in order to make my life
>and my job easier.

>Teresa Taschereau
>Traductions francais/anglais/francais
>Formulaires/Documents/Pages Web
>tascht00 -at- libertel -dot- montreal -dot- qc -dot- ca

I never thought of the discrepancy as being due to fear. In point of fact, I
don't think fear has as much to do with it as does inertia. The young
embrace the new just because it's there, while those of us who have managed
reasonably well without it are much more reluctant to rush to the store and
buy it. In my youth I was enthusiastic about all things new, just because
they were different. Now I judge new things more critically, with an eye
toward how useful I find it to be. I don't own a PDA, for example, although
I have every confidence that I could master one. Ditto cell phones, which in
my mind are too expensive to compete with pay phones. It's the same thinking
that makes me mourn the passing of card catalogs in libraries. I learned to
do research using those things, and I got extremely fast at it. Along came
computers that made me walk through preliminaries to get to the card
information, and my research speed fell off until I got used to the new way.
In my view, the computerized systems are primarily for the library staff,
not for the patron. That may be enough to justify them, but I still feel
that flipping cards is a faster way for me to find what I want. Computers
here didn't make my life easier at all, and I have no way to improve on them.

Tim Altom
Vice President, Simply Written, Inc.
317.899.5882 (voice) 317.899.5987 (fax)
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