If you are reading this, you are likely sat in front of your computer, or perhaps you are looking down at your phone. You might have a cup of coffee in your hand, maybe even your feet up. At first glance, the computer or phone in this setting might seem entirely insignificant, something that’s become a norm in most people’s lives. But if we take a closer look, it plays a far more significant role.
There is a human behind every screen. A human built the computer for a human. And yet, somehow, somewhere, the human aspect got left behind. The pandemic has empathized that people don’t respond to tech talk. Nobody wants to eat digital food or drink digital water. People are looking for genuine connections now more than ever, and it’s time for IT to get more human, which is why we want to talk about why IT starts with people.
The Value of Human Connection
Humans are not done evolving; it’s not just about how they use technology. The pandemic has changed who we are as people. Everyone is much more mindful of our choices and of what matters to us. Technology might be getting more intelligent and more advanced, but human nature and longing for a connection remain unchanged.
When looking at this from an IT professional’s viewpoint, it’s the human touch that makes all the difference – it’s about the actual person on the other end of the computer. While generally speaking people want for their tech to ‘just work,’ they also long for the comfort of a familiar face or voice. It is, therefore, more vital than ever for IT professionals to recognize that IT starts with people. The value of being more human and empathetic in the engagement of technology as a means to be more personal is invaluable at a time where people are seeking meaningful engagement and connection.
The Medium is the Message
“The medium is the message” is a powerful phrase by the communication theorist Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980). While McLuhan did not get the opportunity to experience the digital era, he’s had a considerable influence on it. He spoke about how technology and communication can create a ‘global village.’ His concepts are very real today in that people are constantly surrounded by technology that they do not even apprehend their reliance on it, making it almost like a part of them.
McLuhan’s phrase “The medium is the message” sums up a theory that the medium through which we communicate holds as much value as the message itself. Understanding the meaning behind these words revolutionizes the way we approach IT. Yet, this is not from the technical standpoint, but merely from a people-centered perspective, which provides us with clarity on how to approach people and their technology.
Sometimes the medium can be the message itself if it delivers something that would otherwise not be accessible. Suppose we take a moment to imagine a computer on a desk. The computer is essentially the medium, and the human connection is the message. The computer, as a medium, delivers the connection to the people using it. As a result, the computer becomes the same with human connection, despite being just a pile of plastic, metal, and wires.
The takeaway here is that IT professionals must realize the important role they play in enabling people to have meaningful connections due to their medium. The technician’s responsibility is to first recognize that IT starts with people, then empathize with the person behind the screen and guide them to understand how their technology could serve them. There is a continued need for IT to be more human.