Thursday, June 21, 2012

Technology Rage

Technology Rage, or rage against the machine, is a fairly new psychological disorder. I am not sure that the American Psychiatric Association has recognized it yet, but its a growing disorder in the work place and in education settings. Here is an extreme example:

The higher education world is an interesting mix of typical officer tech users, resident student users, faculty instructional users, and excutive users. With the growing complexity of college environments Tech rage is being seem more often. Who ever thought the technology and emotion would become so linked.

The video example only shows the distruction of a device. In the real world, Tech Rage is often seen when one person becomes agressive or even abusive toward another person. Usually the target is a technology support person or the Helpdesk. This is much like shooting the messenger. Increasingly malfunctioning technology, or a users lack of understanding of how a particular technology works, can result in explosive behavior or a series of what we call "the email bombs". The email bomb is the expression of one's feelings fired over email to a person or the world with full raging emotions contained in it. An email bomb is generally filled with things that you would never say to the recipients face, but the faceless email transaction enables the angry user to blow off steam without having to feel bad -- at least until the calm down and realize what they just did.

How do we avoid Tech Rage?

1. Take your fingers off of the keyboard
2. Close your eyes
3. Take 3-4 to four slow deep breaths
4. If needed, go to the restroom
5. Create a picture in your mind of the cutest small child you can think of
6. Wait at least 1 minute and slowly open your eyes
7. Think the person who might best give you advice on your problem and call them. DO NOT SEND EMAIL!
8. Using your church voice, slowly explain your problem and ask for advice.
9. If you are referred to another office and this frustrates you, repeat this process starting at step 1.
10. If your problem is not resolved to your satisfaction within 15 minutes, leave your desk and take at least a 10 minute break and then repeat steps 7 to 9.

If all of this fails, call it a day and watch your favorite movie or TV show on Hulu and before starting to work again, reboot.

Remember, IT is here to help -- really.

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