February 14th, 2014

Complaining about _Diffusion of Innovations_

Expect this to be added to. I keep trying to get back into reading this, then something annoys me. Author is a Dvorak keyboard user. (I am not even interested in hearing about it. There is a transition problem.) And now he has included a case study arguing that the reason we have compressors in fridges vs. absorption fridges is because of some kind of conspiracy among GE and others back in the 1930s.

Really? _Really_?

There was a nice section on system-blame vs. individual-blame.

From Saturday Feb 15:

Wow, it took this field a while to figure out that (a) people modify stuff as they start to use it and (b) that's not necessarily a bad thing so (c) you shouldn't necessarily try to stop that. Yikes.

I've been thinking about the last year, in which I decluttered ("discontinued" a lot of things I had once "adopted", to abuse the lingo) and engaged in a lot of p- to e- transitioning. A really huge weakness in the framing of this field/book is the idea that the innovation is basically Good/Valid/Useful. Just makes me want to kick someone. I wanted to get away from paper notes, so I tried using Apples Notes, but was a little startled when they just totally disappeared on me. So I did what everyone was saying I should do, which was switch to EverNote, which I promptly installed on my phone, my iPad, my laptop, etc. Then I tried putting everything on it and started having syncing problems. Then I started having data loss due to syncing problems and I sort of minimized usage. And then I realized what was happening, really tried hard to figure it out, got angry, moved everything over to Google Notes, entirely eliminated my EverNote account (making sure it was not attached to any of my email addresses) after deleting everything, slammed them in this blog (extensively) and very tentatively went back to using Apple Notes. Which is where I have been ever since.

Similar things happened with Google Drive/Docs. I tried to move everything onto it, hit a bunch of limitations, gave up, and then came back to it years later -- and am still wondering if I should just switch to DropBox.

All of this makes sense to me: it isn't about "adopting" and "innovation". It's about trying to figure out what the most effective tool is at the time, recognizing that sometimes a Tool Just Isn't Good Enough, making do, doing without, giving it another try, etc. Some of this is the fault of the tool. Some of this is a mismatch between the tool and the problem. Some of it is just not understanding how a tool works/that it exists (a chronic problem with settings everywhere: frequently, there is something that you could use to adapt the tool better to your needs, but until you know about it -- or think to try to find it -- it's not useful to you).

But it fits very awkwardly into the diffusion of innovations framework.