Power User

If you listened to morning radio in the Detroit / Windsor area a few years ago, JJ and the Morning Crew was great listening.  I was in a carpool at the time and we would flip over from the Windsor station to listen to Dick the Bruiser’s rants.  They were on at the same time every morning.  George Baier who was the voice of the Bruiser was hilarious.  His approach was pretty straight forward – “<today’s topic – “what does this mean?”> and then he was off on a rant.

The whole show came back in a flash of memories this weekend in conversation with a couple of friends.  We’d seen the message “I’m a Power User” with respect to technology.

All I could visualize was Dick the Bruiser “Power User – What Does This Mean?”

I remember at one time being asked if I wanted to be part of a Power User Group.  In the back of my mind, I immediately thought of the classic Groucho Marx Line “I wouldn’t want to belong to a club that would have me as a member.”

But, instead, with tongue firmly planted in my cheek, I said “What makes for a Power User? Does that mean that I can use Bold and Underline in the same document?”  As silly as that sounds, it stood up well against the comeback, “No, you know what I mean”.  Really?  Does it mean that your computer skills don’t smell but other people’s do?  

I’ve had this conversation a number of times.  There are organizations that certify teachers as Power Users or equivalent.  It ultimately means that they’ve mastered the ins and outs of a particular piece of software.  Tim King, in his Dusty World blog has talked about this a number of times, naming names, and noting for all that these Power Users end up just shilling for a particular company.  And, I guess people are OK with that.  They might also get some free swag or other things in exchange for their promotions.

I’m not really comfortable with the concept that there are Power Users and then there are the rest of us.  People do what they can with the skill set that they have.  I think that the biggest compliment that can be given happens when they indicate that they are constantly learning and using this learning to do better things for themselves and, in the case of education, for their students.

To me, those are the real heroes.  

I’m less impressed with someone knowing that the bold command is in the Edit Menu or can be activated by some combination of keystrokes and then declaring themselves Power Users.

Just the label conveys the impression that they’ve reached a particular level of knowing everything.  For everyone else, they know that that level can never be truly obtained and just keep on learning.

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One thought on “Power User

  1. Pingback: OTR Links 12/01/2014 | doug — off the record

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