FROM SENDING a terse text that ends in a period—leaving the recipient wondering whether the sender is angry—to posting something on Instagram that is better suited to LinkedIn, people’s interactions with software are as much of a giveaway when it comes to exposing a lack of tech currency as the gadgets they tote around. Here, strategies for making sure even your Gen Z co-workers think you’re with-it.
Do: Hyperlink the text instead
Nothing uglies up an email exchange or reveals that you’re behind the times quite like a 10-line URL link with more symbols than letters (See our poor dinosaur’s faux pas above). In most email servers, however, you can hide a hideous URL by hyperlinking it to related text in the body of your note. It’s usually as simple as highlighting the text, typing Control + K on PC or Command + K on Mac, and pasting the URL in. Voilà.
Don’t: Ask for a menu
Do: Learn to scan QR Codes
People’s unwillingness to touch potentially germy surfaces and devices during the pandemic has greatly accelerated the adoption of unique QR codes. At most restaurants, only the out-of-it still ask for the opportunity to squint at a sticky menu; instead use your smartphone’s camera to scan the QR code (typically found on a placard at your table) to easily access the eatery’s offerings online.
Don’t: Squirrel away your microwave manual
Do: Watch how-to videos on YouTube
You can finally clear out that drawer of old appliance manuals you keep “just in case.” The tech-savvy know that, should they need to troubleshoot a device, jump-start a car, learn how to hyperlink a URL (see above), or even change a setting on a Gmail inbox, they can simply type a query into YouTube’s search bar and watch the video with the most views. Some are better than others, so if the first one seems too tedious, keep looking to find one that suits your experience level.
Don’t: Listen to music on Pandora
Do: Download Spotify
Beyond unearthing new artists, the best reason to download a music app is to share your taste with friends (and romantic partners). While more than 10 million people have hopped off Pandora since it was bought two years ago, according to Music Business Worldwide, dropping its active user base to around 55 million, Spotify—with its impressive algorithm for discovering new music—now boasts more than 165 million users. (A Pandora spokesman said the app “delivers the perfect songs for each user…in a way that no other streaming services can.”)
Don’t: Get cash from an ATM to reimburse a friend
Do: Use Venmo
Dragging a cohort along to an ATM so you can hand her a bundle of sticky bills is like insisting on communicating with her by snail mail. Venmo and CashApp help you automatically find friends in your contacts list or, if you’re sitting together, you can scan each other’s unique QR codes. Plus: No line ups.
Don’t: Write down all your passwords
Do: Utilize a password manager
If you still keep passwords stored in an email draft in hopes of eluding hackers, assume your passwords have already been compromised and come up with new ones. Better yet, download a password manager like LastPass, Keeper or Dashlane. Each can securely create and store unique codes for every platform you visit, allowing you to keep dodgy types from accessing all your personal emails and information.
Don’t: Store files on a thumb drive
Do: Use the Cloud or
New computer models are quickly phasing out USB ports, so if you have all your most secret and important files stashed on a USB thumb drive, you are a bit of a dinosaur and you need to move fast. Your best option is to use a secure cloud server like Apple iCloud, Dropbox or Google Drive, which provides anyone with a gmail account 15 gigabytes of free and safe storage.
Copyright ©2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8