Vero Pepperrell writes... In the year 2006, we're surrounded by gadgets in our everyday life. But apparently, we women don't know how to use them. A recent research, put together for electrical giant Comet, finds that "three out of four women who own a mobile phone do not know how to use all its features. [...] And it is the same with other modern devices and gizmos, from digital cameras to MP3 music players, according to the study."
Fear of technology
As a girl, walking into a computer or game store can be a traumatising experience, as male staff often behave like they haven't seen a real-life woman in many years (and they probably haven't...) so is it really the technology we fear? Or the experience surrounding acquiring said technology?
Comet's solution to this uncomfortable experience is to have a squad of Gadget Angels, a sort of all-female twist on Apple's Genius Bar. These curvaceous tech-pushers will also train other shop staff in how to respond to women customers - and hopefully how not to leer at them when they walk in.
Features v. Benefits
The research makes the observation that "while male customers want hi-tech spec and other mind-numbing details, women prefer to know what a gadget actually does and why it is useful." Typical. So men feel the irrepressible "Mine is bigger than yours" urge to compare - Nothing unusual there. Meanwhile, women want to cut to the chase and find out whether their new phone will match their outfit - Again, nothing unusual, one could say.
There seem to be mixed feelings towards gadgets - it's a one-part
lack of interest, one-part fear of getting it wrong and "breaking
and one part vodka, (whoops, sorry, that's my drink mix) and one-part "knowing too much about technology isn't cool".
But let's not paint all women with the same bronzer brush, shall we?
Not all women are disinterested in gadgets, otherwise I guess you
wouldn't be here reading this.
Gap shrinking for the younger generations?
I'd like to believe part of that "technofear" - excuse me, I still can't use the expression without quotes because it's like fear of carrots or teddy bears to me, completely irrational - is a question of generation and familiarity. Younger generations are living with gadgets, computers and mobile phones as a daily commodity, rather than a novelty, which hopefully means they're getting to grips with them quicker.
So I hope we'll see a growing trend of tech-friendly women, who are happy to show off what they know and learn more about the awesome gadgets out there.
Now, if only those Angels could come over and program my VCR... ;)