My, how fast you can type, my dear
“How can you type so fast?” my twin boys ask me.
They are fascinated by my speedy and adept typing skills. As my fingers whiz across the keyboard in an apparent blur, my kids watch me in wonder.
You see, I have some “mad skills” when it comes to the art of typing. At least in comparison to my boys, though I suspect that they’ll reach my level of competency and perhaps exceed it in due time. After all — it’s a necessary life skill these days, isn’t it?
We live in a world where even those who are minimally engaged with digital technology still have to admit that when things need to get done, they often get done virtually. Virtual connectivity — whether it’s for business or pleasure — requires a certain level of acuity on the keyboard. Without it, expect to be shunned or perhaps pestered relentlessly via text or email for not responding quickly enough. Lightening-speed responses to even the most mundane of digital requests are both expected and demanded.
Virtual connectivity — whether it’s for business or pleasure — requires a certain level of acuity on the keyboard. Lightening-speed responses to even the most mundane of digital requests are both expected and demanded.
No steno pool training for me
I didn’t take typing classes in high school. Back then, it was an elective and I elected to pass on it. A few years later, I realized the error of my ways. After high school, university classes required all types of essays, and handwriting all of them just wasn’t going to cut it. They say that necessity is the mother of invention and finding a solution was a priority. This was the late 80’s and laptops were virtually non-existent.
Enter the typewriter. This now-archaic relic from another time was what carried me through those tough years when assignments were due and handwriting myriad pages of text wasn’t an option. I actually learned to type on an electric typewriter during this time. Though my keystrokes were tentative and halting at first, I was a relative wiz by the time I completed my degree. Necessity is the mother of invention, you see.
Fast-forward to the digital age where typing took on a more urgent importance. The ability to be quick, efficient and adept on the keyboard was required in order to live in the analogue-free world that had evolved. And let’s not get into texting’s connection to the QWERTY keyboard. If we do, then let’s admit that our ability to know where the various letters are situated has made us quick responders to the multitude of texts that cross our smartphones on any given day.
The new normal
The days of tentative, one-finger typing on a computer, or halted texting on a smartphone are gone for most of the population. For those living in today’s world where digital is the only way to go, being slow in responding to queries can be both problematic and costly.
It’s a problem for many when an immediate response to a text or email isn’t offered; whether this is fair or not is secondary — the expectation is there regardless.
Taking your time, or slowly returning a text or email can be a literal deal-breaker: just ask those who missed or didn’t immediately respond to that email or text from HR or the job recruiter.
In spite of one’s personal annoyance at the constant pings and notification beeps on our phones and computers, we need speed, efficiency and proficiency on the keyboard if we want to maintain a competitive advantage.
The fact of the matter is that in spite of one’s personal annoyance at the constant pings and notification beeps on our phones and computers, we need speed, efficiency and proficiency on the keyboard if we want to maintain a competitive advantage. And I’m not just talking about work here, either. Talk to anyone using the latest dating apps, and ask them about “swiping left” or “swiping right,” and subsequent digital conversations that may — or may not — occur. In this highly competitive world in which we’re living, the early bird really does catch the worm or, to make the analogy completely clear, “you snooze, you lose.” In other words, being a keyboard warrior with fast reflexes and speedy fingers will help you get ahead in this world in more ways than one.
In this highly competitive world in which we’re living, the early bird really does catch the worm or, to make the analogy completely clear, “you snooze, you lose.”
Tomorrow’s keyboard warriors
It’s safe to say that the kids of today will be the keyboard masters of tomorrow. Heck — many of them are masters today, with children hitting the keys at earlier ages than ever before. Because of the ubiquity of digital tools requiring a knowledge of the standard keyboard that comes with most devices, kids have become keen and quick studies as they master the QWERTY configurations that promise to deliver everything that the ether has to offer. This highly-motivated cohort doesn’t need to be coerced into learning the location of the various letters. After all, doing so is a necessity, not an option. If they want screen time, the ability to interact with friends or family digitally, or to research information, they need to be able to quickly and easily locate the position of each character.
So, back to my boys.
As they watch me with wonder and perhaps just a tinge of awe, I continue my typing at rapid speeds in order to finish the project at hand. The faster I type, the more I get done on any given day, it’s simple. What was once a “nice to have” skill has now become a “must have” attribute with no room for error (or sluggishness).
“Mommy, will I be able to type as fast as you one day?” one of them asks me?
“Of course, Honey. Like anything, you just have to practice,” I respond. “Practice makes perfect.”
He watches my fingers intently as they move almost faster than his eyes can follow. I can almost imagine what he’s thinking: that he will match — or better yet, exceed — my typing speed in just a matter of time. The next generation of keyboard warriors is alive, well and ready to take on a tactile and necessary challenge.