In a rut?
Is your technology driving you crazy?
Not sure what to do next?
Ready to throw your phone out the window?
A friend emailed me for some help last week. She had just purchased a new smartphone that is very different from her previous cellphone. She wanted her new phone to take and receive pictures and text with her grandchildren who are active middle and high schoolers in three different states. We’ll focus on the picture taking aspect of the phone here and save texting for another time. Here are my suggestions to her.
What to do…
1. Ask someone who is an experienced smartphone user for a beginning tutorial. Sit down with that person and try out the camera’s features on your new phone. Take several pictures and learn about the different settings for photos, video, panorama shots, slo-mo, and more. Check out where the photos reside and how you access them, what kind of editing you can do on the phone, and perhaps, most importantly, how to delete photos you do not want! Of course, everyone wants to know how to save and share photos, so pay particular attention to sending a photo in a text message, email, or sharing through social media. Consulting with a real human being is often the best way to learn something new, particularly one who is patient and knowledgeable. How about a friend, neighbor, a high school student across the street?
2. Another excellent source of information is to go online for articles about how to use your phone. A simple search for “tips and tricks in using my iPhone/Android/Samsung” or whatever phone you have will elicit hundreds of articles, blog posts, and other suggestions. Obviously, you have to weed out the useful advice from the rest. See the Tips and Tricks screenshot (left) to see several excellent articles that pop up in the top of my search.
3. Are you more of a visual learner? Then go to YouTube and search for the same. You’ll find all sorts of video tutorials about using your smartphone. You’ll find many more non-professional sources here so you may have to try out several videos before you find ones that are helpful. Watch several tutorials to see which ones work best for you. The advantage with video is that you can actually see, not just read about, how to use the phone’s camera. And you can replay the video as many times as you need.
4. If you are a little more adventurous with technology then simply start “playing” with your phone’s camera to see what you can do. Try it out and see how it works. Then you can always look at an article or a video to take you to the next level of operation. You may have noticed that this is exactly what younger people do. They are generally intuitive enough that they simply jump into a new piece of technology and teach themselves to use it by playing with it. Older users, including some boomers, want to know everything BEFORE they begin, but that is not the most efficient way of learning.
What not to do…
1. Don’t read the “manual” past the beginning. Use it simply to get started.
2. Don’t spend hours upon hours reading about how to take, edit, save, and share photos online or watch hours of YouTube videos.
3. Most importantly, don’t get frustrated and throw up your hands. If you need a real person to help you, simply ask someone you know in your community, your church, even someone at the local coffee shop. And don’t feel embarrassed about asking. People generally like to help and will be happy to assist. I have several friends who keep a “running list” of questions for me about their technology. When we get together for a few minutes, I work through their list answering what I can, researching what I don’t know, and encouraging them to learn how to find answers for themselves.