TECH NOUS Anthropology In Action

I was always under the impression that TIF stood for temporary image format or some such thing. But this mere male must be getting behind the times. survey carried out late last year in the US identified the emergence of new kind of TIF which stands for technology involved female.
The Intel/Harris Interactive online survey of American adults (we can only assume that our adult behaviour downunder is on parallel) revealed that computing technology has become just as big turn-on for women as it has long been for men.
Okay, the cynic in me says it’s the sort of result you’d expect from an online survey. After all, these women wouldn’t be online if they didn’t embrace the technology to some degree but we can still learn lot from their responses.
It seems women are just as lost as their male counterparts if they don’t check email at least once day, and they’re just as enthusiastic about utilising all the features on their computers. No surprises there, we all want to maximise our investments.
However, where the surveyed women clearly lead the way over men is in adopting wireless internet access (39 percent versus 29 percent). They not only believe it’s must-have accessory on laptop, they also want that access available in multiple locations (the doctor’s office, for example), not just popular spots like airports.
Women won’t stand for any nonsense with their technology either, and are less tolerant when computer doesn’t perform to expectations. This is the view of Dr Genevieve Bell, cultural anthropologist with Intel.
“While women have embraced technology as useful tool in their daily lives to multi-task, stay organised, and keep in touch, they are less tolerant of poor experiences,” she says. “Women are busy and want technology to work well right from the start.”
Women are now more careful about leaving their laptops unattended – they’d rather not check it through with the rest of the baggage thank you very much. And interestingly, while they may not feel as confident as men when purchasing computers, they are nearly three times as likely as men to believe that the opposite sex overstate their knowledge about computers (32 percent women versus 10 percent men). Ouch.
Reliability and functionality is obviously big factor for women when choosing technology. Bell believes women want their PCs to be like that favourite little black dress – “there when you need it and readily accessorised to be as individual as you are”.
The TIF influence has not gone unnoticed by the world’s technology manufacturers. For example, wireless internet access capability is being integrated into more computing products, allowing women the freedom to take their technology everywhere.
Fashion and design are now paramount in much of the technology marketplace. This has resulted in everything from pink laptops to stylish mobile phones with built-in mirrors and clothing-size converters.
Trends born in Europe and Asia are quickly spreading across the world. Certainly for my 14-year-old daughter, her latest cellphone purchase decision was based more around looks than functionality.
So men (if you’re still reading this), perhaps it’s time to admit that we no longer have the edge when it comes to technology savviness. It would appear that women have closed the technology gender gap once and for all.

Glenn Baker is regular contributor to
Management.
Email: [email protected]

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