AS I SEE IT: Are you a ‘technoist’?

IN this age when we must all, quite rightly, strive not to be sexist, ageist, racist, classist and every other kind of “ist”, how about another one to add to the “ist list”.

What about “technoist” – the creeping tendancy in today’s society to discriminate against those who choose not to wholeheartedly embrace i-pads, i-pods, i-phones, wi-fi, laptops, palmtops, Facebook, Twitter, Google and every gizmo and gadget fresh to the market. The people for whom “tablets” still come in little brown bottles and whose choice of technology extends little past the trusty i-ron.

It’s all too easy to consider such people as somehow lesser mortals, left behind by the modern age, outdated and – just like last month’s very latest all-singing all-dancing high-tech gadget – now obsolete.

In other words, to unwittingly behave in a way which is ... “technoist”. Ooh, shame on you for being an “ist”!

True, some may be keen as mustard to keep up to date with all the latest innovations in technology and simply struggle to do so, but usually there is help at hand, through some Government scheme or so-called “dummies” guide. Good for them.

But the point is this ... for many it is their deliberate choice not to leap, whooping and hollering, into the ocean of digital delights. Yes, it might be fear of drowning, but it might also be they simply prefer to stay on the beach, reading a good book and enjoying a glass of wine.

And it is a perfectly valid lifestyle choice, in just the same way some people are compelled to follow a particular faith, or sexuality, or other “alternative lifestyle”. We all know we must not discriminate against these people – in some cases it is illegal to do so – and so too we must resist the tendancy to become technoist.

In fact it is debatable whether those who show no great enthusiasm to ride the digital superhighway are those with an “alternative lifestyle”.

They could still be the mainstrem majority, so ignore them at your peril. Even in this newspaper, most stories contain an e-mail address or website address, where more information can be found or readers can become “interactive”. But we do try to provide more traditional alternatives, such as a phone number or postal address.

Time marches on, the world changes and we cannot, like King Canute, attempt to turn back the tide. But those of us who choose to move a little further up the beach should not be pilloried for that decision. Don’t forget, tides go out too.

Only this morning on the breakfast news there was the perfect example. London’s TV is, apparently, about to undergo the digital switchover, which obviously makes it big national news. The switchover guru explained, only a little patronisingly, that a special guide was available to help those struggling to get to grips with this new technology.

“Yes,” enthused the presenter, “and you can find details of where to get the guide on our Facebook page...”

DUNCAN SMITH