Why Aren't Most People "Computer People"?

Posted by Matt Birchler
β€” 2 min read

It's a question I hear time and time again from nerds, why don't most people feel passionate about their computers? It's a good question, and while this is a question you could ask about any hobby, there's something about computers that makes them unique. Unlike other hobbies such as sports, camping, or art, computers are a central part of everyone's lives in 2016. For something that almost everyone uses at home, on the go, and at work everyday, you'd think that people would be more passionate about that they used.

And yet people generally don't care to think more about their computer than they have to. They want it to work, but they don't want to fiddle with it and use it to its full potential to improve their lives. For example, my mom has a full calendar that is overflowing with things to remember, and it's literally busting at the seams, as she tries to fit everything into limited physical space. She's the ideal person to fill up a digital calendar complete with alerts, color coding, and cross-device sync. But there's no way she's going to do that on a Mac. It's too complicated. It's too much work up front. It's going to take too long to learn.

I believe most people are like this, and it drives nerds like us crazy because we know what's possible. I think the obvious problem is that the user interface in traditional computers are simply not good enough. The power that computers hold is hidden behind an interface that keeps most people away from their potential.

But all this is changing, and it was smartphones that drove this entire shift. How many average people do you know that use their smartphones way more than their PCs? Just about everyone is more savvy with a phone than they are with a PC. It's amazing, and I would be you have a couple people in your life who never played on their computers, but you see them using their phones all the time. Maybe it's the touch screens or maybe it's the simplified interactions, but people in general prefer this way of working with digital bits.

Even my mom, who won't touch a Mac with a ten foot pole, has started to use an iPad on a daily basis. She replies to emails, sees new photo I send her, and I think she might actually get around to using the calendar a little bit here and there.

Consider this the next time someone says that the iPad isn't a "real computer" because it doesn't do everything a PC does. Every great advancement in technology makes things more accessible to more people. Sure, you may lose some things you loved about the old systems along the way, but it's a huge net gain anyway. I continue to be optimistic about the iPad and "mobile" OS's being the future and can't wait to see where they go next.