What does Jurassic Park have to do with learning new technologies like Twitter and WordPress in the digital age?
Confused? Read on and it will all make sense.
When I was a kid, I loved dinosaurs. Hell, I STILL love dinosaurs. So do you. Don’t lie. EVERYONE loves dinosaurs. They’re big, they’re majestic, and they’re mysterious. We all wonder about what they were really like, how they died out, and whether we could ever really bring them back using science. They’re a cultural obsession that has never gone away.
When I was a kid, there were certain “primary” species of dinosaurs that everyone knew. If you asked 100 people to name a type of dinosaur, the survey would say something like: Tyrannosaurs Rex, Brachiosaurus,
Brontosaurus Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Pterodactyl, and Ankylosaurus. Some runners-up would include Parasaurolophus, Allosaurus, and The Mighty Megalosaurus.
One dinosaur that would NOT have been on the list in the 1980s was the velociraptor.
I don’t know about you (and people born after Jurassic Park came out will surely differ), but I didn’t know WHAT a velociraptor was until Dr. Grant explained how deadly they are . After that, raptors became one of the most famous dinosaurs, known to be deadly, cunning pack hunters and problem solvers.
But then something changed. Science is always evolving. Scientific theories are always called “theories” not because we don’t know if they’re true, but because the state of knowledge is always changing. More information gets added with each passing year, giving us an ever more complete picture. Today, this is what the picture of a velociraptor looks like:
This information may be hard to process at first, but you’ll cope.
Paleontology isn’t the only science that’s changed since 1993. Hell, just look at this recreation of the Jurassic Park computer system to see how different computers have become. That might be a fictional computer system, but it captures a lot of the nostalgia of the computer I had back then, running Windows 3.1, using floppy disks, and limited to 640k ram.
But just like raptors, we can adapt and evolve. From both the inside and the outside.
We once thought raptors had leathery, reptilian skin. We now know they had feathers. But we ALSO know that they were intelligent problem solvers. We, as denizens of the digital age, can change our feathers and learn to solve problems at the same time. One of my Twitter friends, Janet Lee Nye (@JanLNye) asked me “What you youngsters really think about us old people trying to be tech savvy?” What I honestly think is that you’re a raptor who doesn’t realize you have feathers. Anyone of any age who thinks “I’m too old to learn this” is still thinking of themselves as the person they were years ago, when raptors were reptiles and 640k was enough for anybody. But you’ve changed, learned, and grown since then. ANYONE using the internet today who used it 20 years ago is more tech-savvy than you used to be. You simply have to be, because the technology has changed so much. There was no twitter 20 years ago. If you’ve ever tweeted, you’re showing your feathers. There were no tablets or smartphones 20 years ago. You show your feathers every time you use a touch screen or take a digital photograph. You show them every time you navigate a website, make a blog post, or pin something on pinterest. These are all skills you’ve learned that the old you simply couldn’t do.
So what makes you think you can’t keep learning something new? Pshaw. The only thing stopping you is yourself. If you want to be a tech-savvy feathered velociraptor, then I say: