Keep Up With Technology Using These Simple Steps

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We live in an age of constant miracles, but trying to keep up with technology is daunting.

A little more than ten years ago, cell phones could barely connect to the internet. Today, we carry around tiny, touchscreen computers in our pockets that have more processing power than the computers got NASA astronauts to the moon. Ten years from now, the technology that we’ll use on a daily basis will be far more advanced than most of us can imagine. Keeping up with technology seems like an impossible task, but it’s an essential one. Therefore, we've compiled everything you need to know to stay abreast of the ever-evolving technological expanse around us.

Why is Technology Important?

We live in a technological world. It infiltrates nearly every aspect of human life. For instance, think about one of our most basic needs in life: water. The need for clean, potable water has defined humanity’s struggle for survival throughout our history.

The advent of water treatment plants, sewer systems, and running water inside every home is arguably one of the most significant in history. What was once a crucial element of daily survival is now a simple matter of convenience for many people.

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Credit: Flickr, FishInWater

In most advanced societies on the planet, we have access to clean water at any time. For those who enjoy the miracle of modern plumbing, the days of taking a bucket to a spring or a well are over. Water is so taken for granted (at least in America), that you can walk into any food service business and drink all the water you can for no charge at all.

If you’ve got money to spend, you can buy bottled water, sometimes enriched with minerals and other healthy additives. As technology advances we are able to provide water for ourselves and, hopefully, those on this planet who still struggle for water. Even still, technology can both solve and create problems, so its important to be able to tell the two apart.

Why makes keeping up with technology so difficult?

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As we age, it becomes more and more difficult to keep up with technology because we simply don’t find it as intuitive as when we were younger. Anyone who ever had to help a grandparent program a VCR to record their “stories” can attest to this.

However, all it takes to keep up with technology is the desire to do so and a little willingness to learn. Sure, the hot new devices may eventually be intimidating or difficult to use, but it’s not impossible.

What Happens if You Don't Keep Up With Technology:

Some people feel that technology is a detriment to society. They feel as though each new advancement causes a loss to humanity. Perhaps, the feel of real world connection with each other and the world is lost.

Though, if anything, the opposite of this is true. Technology facilitates human connection, even if it doesn’t take place in the idyllic ways of our youth. In fact, if you don’t keep up with technology, you could run this risk of actually becoming more disconnected from the rest of the world.

To be clear, technology, like anything, can be abused, misused, and create problems for society. For example, bullying has always been a problem for children. Yet, where it used to end after you left school, online the bullying can persist for the entire day and into the night.

There are also changes to how society functions thanks to technology. For example, in the past you could have a public meltdown and only those present would see it. Today, however, we carry HD video cameras with us everywhere we go. Your worst moment, caught on video, can now live forever. This is also why it is important to keep up with technology, so you can be prepared for these situations.

If technology is always changing, how can we possibly keep up?

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Credit: Will Keightley, Flickr

There are two ways you could keep up with technology, and it all depends on your needs and how you use devices.

  1. One way to do it is to invest time and effort in learning about developing technology and where companies are taking their products in the future. This helps you to stay connected and to avail yourself of all that modern tech has to offer.
  2. The other way to do it is to evaluate your needs and ensure the tech you use meets them while not becoming obsolete.

We will discuss both in greater detail below. Of course, you may be thinking that you have to keep track of enough already. However, committing yourself to learning about technology and recent developments will be the difference between staying ahead and falling behind.

What You Will Need to Keep Up with Technology:

There are a few supplies you will want to have handy in your quest for technological knowledge. It's important to note though, that most of these 'supplies' are not tangible items. Rather, these are commitments, understandings, and skills within yourself to best keep up with technology. You'll want to start with the following:

  • A clear set of technology goals and interests
  • A baseline familiarity with technology
  • An understanding of the resources available to you
  • Some way to have your questions answered
  • A willingness to learn and deal with frustration
  • The technological device(s) about which you wish to learn more

Once you've compiled your resources, it's time to get to work. After all, you have to be proactive to stay on top of technology!

Our Favorite Tips and Tricks to Keep Up With Technology:

Now that we’ve covered the essentials, it’s time to focus on the specific ways you can best keep up with technology. Before we begin, it’s important to note that this isn’t like making a casserole or building a cabinet. There is no single formula that works for everyone. Rather, you should treat this like a guidebook that will allow you to forge your own path ahead.

1. Determine why you want to keep up with technology.

There are countless reasons why you would want to keep up with technology, whether it’s for business or pleasure. Similar to any project, you will want to establish a clear set of goals and interests for the most efficient use of your time. If you are fascinated by all things technological or just want to keep up with the technology that is most important to you, these goals will give you an action plan.

Prioritize your technological life. Start with the tech that is relevant to your livelihood. Staying abreast of advancements in those areas can make all the difference between professional success or failure.

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Credit: Andrew Turner, Flickr

Next, focus on the technology that you use in your every day life. Whether it’s the latest video game systems or the fastest American cars, stay informed about changes to features and other advancements. This can help you decide if you want to upgrade or are satisfied with the model you currently have.

From there you can branch out into any area that strikes your fancy or interest. From the latest in 3D printing tech to autonomous automobiles, there are whole technological worlds you can explore. Just remember to not let the sheer volume of information out there intimidate you. Especially because there are ways to filter out the noise.

2. Keep up with technology -- but only what's important.

Obviously technology is important to the world, but that doesn’t mean that all tech is equal. If you tried to stay abreast of all technological advances – from the latest in quantum microprocessors to the latest smart kitchen appliances – it would be all you did. So, in order to keep up with technology in a way that makes the most sense, ensure you follow the tech that is most important to you.

Are you an avid gamer? Then you’ll probably want to be informed about the newest systems coming out, the advancements in game engines, and anything else related to video games.

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Do you rely on high speed communications for your business? Then you’ll want to pay less attention to video games and more attention to advancements in the telecom industry, fiber optics, and wireless tech. Everyone from auto mechanics to marketing professionals need to keep up with technology that is relevant to their specific interests.

There is ample information available (thanks to technology!), and it is very easy to get lost in it all. So, in order to make the most of what’s available to you, you will need to set specific goals and clarify your priorities.

3. Determine the best way to keep up with your technological interests.

Now that you know what to look for, what are the best ways you can keep up with technology? In a weird spiral of coincidence, thanks to modern technology there are myriad ways to do so.

First, you should identify the resources you have available. Do you live in a place where tech professionals live and work? Do you have to rely on news and trade publications to get your information? Can you trust what you see on social media? Is there a way to find out how real people who use the technology like it?

You'll want to find trusted, professional sources to get information about technology. A press release from a startup may inform you about some new product or service, but remember a press release is, essentially, marketing. Pair that information with a trustworthy new source reporting on the specific industry or technology in general. Even though we can beam video signals to space or anywhere on the planet, the best way to keep up with technology starts with reading.

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Credit Aaron Kim, Flickr

Social media is also a great resource to use to keep up with technology, but one where you have to be more cautious. A tweet from some anonymous user about a tech scoop or some dangerous development should be verified.

However, social media and review sites offer the chance to get firsthand information from people who have experience with a specific product or service. There will always be disgruntled users complaining about customer service. But if you are seeing several complaints about one specific thing, chances are it is a real concern. Rank these resources based on their usefulness to you.

4. Do your homework.

In journalism, there is an adage about believing a tip or piece of information: trust but verify. This is also a good rule for people who want to keep up with technology and have the best information at their disposal. As noted above, rank the resources you turn to for information, but do your best to verify that what they tell you is true.

If you follow particular influencers or tech reporters on social media, that can be a great way to get small pieces of information or news. However, before you tell your friends or boss about some amazing new tech advancement, find out if what you read was true.

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Credit: Thierry Ehrmann, Flickr

For example, if a tech reporter sends a tweet about something but doesn’t file a story, that could signal that their editor didn’t think that information was reliable or newsworthy. If others are reporting it as well, chances are it is more than likely true.

If you are trying to keep up with technology for work or for your home life, make sure to find out how others who’ve used the service or product feel about it. Tech publications and influencers may rave about it, but if customer reviews are more negative than positive, proceed with caution.

5. Find a place to get your questions answered.

You can keep up with technology using the resources available, but if you have specific questions, what can you do? The answer is to find someone knowledgeable who will answer your specific inquiries. Whether this is tweeting at a tech professional known for replying to questions or asking your kids, it is essential to find an outlet.

There are some caveats, of course. Be wary when the person who answers your questions has a vested interest in getting you to buy their product or service. This is not to suggest that marketing or sales people are all dishonest, though some are. Rather, their motivation to help you is not simply to inform but meant towards achieving a sale or keeping your business.

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Conversely, someone who isn’t in the industry isn’t trying to sell you something might not have the best information. Or, even worse, they might have some grudge against a particular company, such as those who absolutely hate Microsoft or Apple on general principle.

The best place to have your questions answered is likely a forum, in the real world or online, where others who keep up with technology congregate. You can gather information from those more knowledgeable than you. Furthermore, you can find a diverse array of opinions and evaluate them in context. Like Fox Mulder and Dana Scully told us in the 1990s: the truth is out there. You just have to be able to find it.

6. Get your hands dirty (or get your dirty hands on the latest and greatest tech).

For the person who wants to keep up with technology only casually, they could probably stop after the first step. However, if you want to not just keep up with technology but be on the forefront of advancement, you have to unplug and get out into the world. Trade shows, product demonstrations, and even stores are perfect places to gain firsthand experience with new tech.

Think about 4K Ultra HD televisions, for example. You can read articles all day about how they work. You can read testimonial after testimonial about the picture quality. But it’s not until you get in front of one of those screens yourself that you can truly appreciate it.

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Credit: Sherif Salama

On some of these devices, pictures are so clear and sharp that it’s like you are looking through a window rather than at a screen. There is no way, other than seeing it for yourself, that you are truly able to understand its value. Much the same can be said for nearly every other technological device.

Whether it’s the latest high definition television or the newest virtual reality system there is no substitute for firsthand experience. By learning about the product's functions and being able to see the quality in person, you'll make the most educated purchases.

It’s easy to keep up with technology if you know how.

Our world runs on these man-made miracles, and if you don’t keep up with technology you could miss out on untold wonders. Whether you are just reading a daily tech newsletter or investing serious time into your research, sometimes just being in the know can enrich your life.

Learning how to navigate the technological world means that you will be better able to adjust to changes it makes to society. After all, twenty-five years ago, not many knew what a “website” was. Today it is the primary way to engage with a company or organization whether you want to be a client, work there, or find information. If you don’t keep up with technology, you may not be able to keep up with the rest of the world.

There is not just one way to keep up with technology. You can do all of these steps or only a few of them, depending on your needs and wants. While it may seem daunting to keep up with technology, it’s not as impossible as it seems. Essentially, all you have to do is read some stuff, double-check what you read, ask good questions, and, if you can, try out the tech for yourself. 

What do you think are the best ways to keep up with technology? Share your thoughts, reactions, and experiences with us in the comments below.

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