…I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas Edison
That’s what users are like in the IT world. It’s not that they don’t know how to use computers (although that’s often the case), it’s that they find ways to achieve tasks with methods that were not intended to achieve the results that the users seek. Prime example, people using search bars to surf to websites by searching for the websites name. There must be millions of people that search for “facebook.com” then click the first result instead of just typing “facebook.com” into the address bar then hitting enter. Fortunately enough, this method works… except for when it doesn’t. In the more extreme cases the largest barrier to problem resolution is communication – there are multiple layers to work through.
Let’s use a web browser as an example like say… Internet Explorer. There are too many people in the world that consider their computer to be their web browser, it has to be the leading reason behind Chromebook success. People will often just call it “the internet”. If the browser has any trouble then the internet has died and isn’t working and someone has screwed up that will be threatened in every way known to man. If a user can’t access a website for any reason then the “internet” has also died. They will say it when a website is down for maintenance and they will also say it when they forget the password to their facebook account. To the end users, their internet service is not working in the way that they would like.
They could be the source of the problem or it could be aliens or free willy but somehow it’s all described with the exact same terms. It’s very important to be specific with computing and with everything in life. I don’t expect or even want words like “verisimilitude” to become part of everyday chatter but it would be nice if people were thoughtful with the words they used and how they used them. Maybe the world would be better off if everyone had to learn how to program, even if it’s just basic.