Do Your Colleagues Think You Are 'Tech Dumb'?

woman browsing on her computer  ...
woman browsing on her computer ...

There are several digital faux pas that grate on the nerves of people who are comfortable with 21st century computer skills. In fact, you may not even know that your coworkers perceive you as a digital idiot, because common courtesy prevents them from calling you out on your naiveté. If you're interested in protecting your reputation as an innovator, keep reading.

It's very common to look at a popular stream on a social networking site and see at least one entry where the commenter has posted in either all or inappropriately-mixed caps. Many times this is unintentional. If you have accidentally typed an entire post or email using the wrong capitalization convention (which typically should be sentence case) don't just shrug your shoulders and click send! The rest of the world sees that as a big, bold sign of ignorance. Take a moment to run your text through a case changer before you post.

If, on the other hand, you have created your message in all caps on purpose for the emphasis of yelling, you should most-likely delete the post altogether and try again when your medication kicks in. After all, trolls are the epitome of Internet stupidity.

2)  One Finger Typing
Nothing says "noob" faster than having someone in your office while you peck out an email with your pointer finger. Invest in your reputation by spending an hour on a keyboarding tutorial such as TypingWeb, then promise yourself you will practice proper typing from that point forward -- not even letting yourself resort to Hunt & Peck for rapid emails.

3)  Sending MS Word Documents When Formatting Matters
An increasing percentage of the population is putting trust into Apple, Google Docs, or OpenOffice. Gone are the days that you can assume that your audience will be using the same word processor as you do. If the format of your document matters, create a PDF. You don't have to use expensive software to transform your document, you can use a simple online converter, such as easyPDFcloud.

4)  Sending PDFs When Collaborating
PDFs are wonderful when you don't know what technology is being used on the other side of the email pipeline, but when you're working with a group to edit a document, they just aren't flexible enough. Google Docs is an extremely powerful tool for people who need to work together to get a document out the door... and it's free!

5)  Ignoring Hot Keys
Most operating systems provide a list of hot keys (or keyboard shortcuts) which allow you to easily do common tasks, without the overhead of moving your cursor to the menu bar. Microsoft and Apple both provide detailed lists of the shortcuts for their software. It's worth taking fifteen minutes to learn a few of these so that you can easily find a word, select-all, or copy and paste without losing your place.

Read this list over again and if any of these items apply to you, spend some time making these issues obsolete.  A little knowledge goes a long way!