Bondfires affect all of us. Our warm and cozy projects normally are quite pleasant but when the fire jumps off the wood and onto your project, well you may have a problem. When working on messy projects, fires continue to stick to every milestone. Like bonfires, a lack of trust for digital tools can be quite a pain for individuals and organizations. Check out my last article for an overview of digital readiness. Without proper education and buy-in, using digital tools can disrupt the way you work and function in the digital economy.

Education

In order to use digital tools, you have to be educated on how the tools operate. Digital tools consist of mobile apps, websites, and other online interfaces. Some examples of digital tools you are probably already familiar with include Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook. For project management, businesses use tools like Trello or Asana. For client management, firms use CRMs like Salesforce, Zoho, and Streak. Someone who has a high digital readiness or digital literacy can jump on these digital tools and get to work. But what about for the average person who is still figuring out why Instagram notifies them about their ex being in a relationship?

YouTube

For starters, go on YouTube and research any new tools you are interested in. YouTube is the second largest search engine next to Google. Watch some videos of people using the digital tool you’re interested in, giving reviews of their experience, or reflecting on their experience using the particular digital tool.  YouTubers typically put a lot of effort into creating their content. You can expect to see some very relevant and helpful educational material on YouTube for learning the digital tool you’re interested in.

Free Trials

I like to look at digital tools like a playground. You have the monkey bars, the swing set, and the dreaded metal slide. You can try out every piece of equipment on the playground for free, but in order to use the equipment safely, you need to spend time on the playground. Just like your first time on the monkey bars, you just need to try out digital tools and learn from experience. 

 

Many digital tools have free trials you can use to access advanced features for free, for a limited time. Free trials are amazing while they last. When I was in college, I used to listen to podcasts about entrepreneurs. The guests on the podcast would typically spit off digital tools that they used to make their business successful.  I would always write down the URLs and promo codes from the episode. I would spend my weekends playing around with different digital tools by utilizing their free trials. This allowed me to understand a variety of complex software without paying for it. 

 

Typically a free trial will last anywhere from 24 to 48 hours up to a month.  AWS even has a free tier that lasts an entire year, which really helps startups and small businesses. Sign up for some free trials and play around with some new digital tools. 

Buy-in

According to a Pew Research study, 52% of adults are relatively hesitant, due to a lack of trust, when it comes to digital tools. Those adults who reluctantly hesitate, fall into three categories: the unprepared, the traditional, and the reluctant. The unprepared have both low levels of digital skills and limited trust in online information. The traditional are active learners, but use traditional means to pursue their interests. The reluctant have higher levels of digital skills than the unprepared, but very low levels of awareness of new “education tech” concepts. The reluctant have relatively lower levels of performing personal learning activities of any kind.

 

How do you sell someone on any particular product or service?  The general sales flow typically consists of building rapport, finding out what the individual values, and connecting what they value to the product or service you’re selling.  Ultimately, when you are selling someone on your product or service, you are looking for buy-in for your product or service using their money. 

 

Digital tools are trying to sell you on their services. Take a look at every app you have downloaded on your phone. C’mon, pull out your phone and actually look. Every app on your phone is considered a digital tool. You bought into every single app you downloaded because it adds value to your life in some form or fashion. Whether every app on your phone helps you accomplish your goals is outside of the matter. In order for you to increase your digital readiness and digital literacy, you need to buy into digital tools that add value to your life. Live life in the wild west of the digital ecosystem and be sold on digital tools. 

Trust Digital Tools

What is the cause of adults being relatively hesitant? In this study, I believe that trust and buy-in are the cause of low digital readiness and confusion around digital tools in America. How do you build trust when you meet a new acquaintance? Well, typically you start to hang around this particular individual more. As you spend time with this new acquaintance, you start to see that they actually care about you as a person. Once you recognize that this new acquaintance truly deeply genuinely cares about you as an individual, you will start to trust them and they will start to trust you.

Conclusion

Without proper education and buy-in, using digital tools can disrupt the way you work and function in the digital economy. Education is necessary for understanding digital tools. Buy-in is necessary for “being sold”  on particular digital tools.  Be sold on a digital lifestyle, and your digital readiness and digital literacy will increase — which will help you avoid being one of the 52% relatively hesitant adults in the US