So, I came across this article that struck me as really, really funny. Some friend (or friend of a friend or something) posted it on Facebook a while back. It put me in mind not only of technology but also of how we as people act in so many ways. The article is about the fact (gasp!) that most people don’t know how to use Ctl-F (read it here). I was interested in the article because I don’t know how to use Ctl-F and wondered what it was. Mind you, I use a Mac, so I don’t use Ctl anything, but still. Upon occasion I end up on a Windows machine and wanted to know this life-changing trick.
So, I went and read the article. And then I laughed. The headline was so superior sounding that I thought this must be some cool, super-geek type thing. It isn’t. It’s Edit -> Find. How funny that they would call it Ctl-F, given that I lost the Control command vernacular when I moved from DOS applications to Windows. Once you made the WordPerfect for DOS switch, there was no need to have a complicated set of Control commands on the keyboard (anyone else remember those little paper covers they had to go above the function keys so you could quickly do Control F4, etc.?). So, really this Ctl-F thing is more old school than geek-chic.
But how human is this? We use jargon to make ourselves seem more intelligent or in some way superior. I found myself wondering, when I actually read the article, whether had they asked if the people ever used Edit -> Find it would still be 90% have never done it? Is it about the action or the jargon? After all, I use this function ALL THE TIME, but if they had asked me, I would have said I’d never done it. I don’t use Ctl F (now if you said Shift Command 4 to do a screen capture… that I’d know!).
I knew a gal in HR once who was disgusted that her new boss wasn’t familiar with Roy. I was a bit confused (I didn’t know what or who Roy was either). Then I realized she meant ROI (which I say Are-Oh-Eye). This was a way of separating out the wheat from the chaff. This fellow didn’t know anything because he was taken aback by her jargon. And this is something we need to keep in mind. Using too much jargon can leave people out. And this is not just in business.
In real life, I have so many friends living (like me) half in an Arabic world. As a result, we tend to talk about certain things with an Arabic word thrown into an English sentence. Yesterday, one of the gals was talking about after she hummared her meat (reddened it in Arabic, meaning browned it). The challenge is that if anyone of the group doesn’t speak Arabic (or know that phrase) they can feel left out. Most of the time, they won’t speak up. But they may feel unwelcome and start avoiding group events. To be welcoming, we have to remember not to use jargon or other languages in a way that may tend toward exclusivity.
Some words, we just don’t think of. I mean, what other word is there for the daftar 3ayli? Family book in English not only sounds odd, but is meaningless. Americans don’t have family books and can’t relate to the concept. Each individual relates to the state on their own behalf. Relationship with others is not codified and does not need to be. Especially not relationship based only on relationship to the father… But resorting to the Arabic word because it’s an Arabic concept can make it hard to follow. So, it’s important to keep in mind the levels of the people involved. If they don’t know these things, you need to translate the concepts, if not the words. So, how did I get from Edit -> Find to family books? You can see MommaBean’s mind is a strange and wonderful place…
Happy Geek Chic!