Ever wonder how that geeky friend of yours got to know so much about the the latest mobile hardware, home theater gear, home automation tools, amazing apps, etc.? Truth is, most amateur tech geeks simply spend more time paying attention to, and learning about, all things techy than other people. In fact, if they're like me (an admitted amateur tech geek), they'll admit that they'd rather spend time listening to a tech podcast or reading about new tech products than they would scrolling through social media posts.
It's simply a matter of where you spend your time and attention. You can learn a lot about anything if you just focus on it for an hour or so every day. And a fun bonus of tech learning is that the more you learn about all those weird and wonderful products, the more you want to go get them and try them! And eventually you could become your family's one-person geek squad, solving their tech problems and learning even more in the process!
Six Podcasts to Get You Started
One of the easiest ways to immerse yourself in tech stuff is to subscribe to a few tech podcasts and replace some of your time spent scrolling through Facebook or Instagram or Twitter with time spent listening to tech experts. Just download the podcasts to to your phone, then when you're standing in line shopping or exercising or doing chores you can listen and learn! Or better yet, you can tell your smart speaker to "Play the latest episode of [XYZ podcast]" while you are showering or shaving or doing the dishes.
Below are six of my favorite tech podcasts to help you get you started. I've listed them in order of their tech-geeky density. And I've linked each to its listing in Google Podcasts. It's my podcast player of choice because it syncs podcasts across all my devices and picks up where I "pause" when I switch from one device to another. So I can start listening on my phone, pick up where I left off in my car's Android Auto, then finish up at home on my Google Home (Nest) smart speakers. (Google Podcasts is available in the App Store for iOS or Google Play for Android.)
The Tech Guy ( 2 1/2 hours, every Sat & Sunday) - This was my first ever tech program! Listeners call in with all sorts of ordinary tech problems from the simple to the highly complex and get practical, how-to advice. Whether it's fixing your printer or unraveling your home WiFi, Leo can walks ordinary folks like us through the solution, step by step. Publisher's description: "No one does a better job of explaining technology, computers, and the Internet than Leo Laporte. This feed contains the full audio of his twice weekly radio talk show... For show notes and more visit techguylabs.com."
This Week in Google (2 1/2 hours, weekly)- This one is difficult to describe. It's sorta like listening to "The View" if it were conducted by smart, tech-savvy futurists. And don't let the title fool you. It's about FAR more than Google. It covers smart homes, the internet of things (IOT), Facebook, Congress vs. Big Tech, artificial intelligence, the history of tech and innovations and on and on. It's my "never miss" podcast!"
Tech News Weekly - (1 hour, weekly) This one's all about doing a deeper dive beneath the tech news headlines that you might hear about elsewhere. Publisher's description: "Tech News Weekly hosted by Jason Howell and Mikah Sargent brings you interviews from tech journalists who make or break the top stories of the week. Jason and Mikah give you more context and perspective, with an in-depth look at the fast-paced world of technology and how it is changing our lives."
Techmeme Ride Home - (15 minutes, daily) This one's for the official, professional tech geeks. But you can still learn a lot if you're willing to be a little confused now and then and do some quick research to unravel the acronyms! Publisher's description: "The day's tech news, every day at 5 pm. From Techmeme.com, Silicon Valley's most-read news source. 15 minutes and you're up to date."
Daily Tech Headlines - (5 - 10 minutes, daily) Another podcast for tech pros and tech marketing folks. It will stretch you! So try a couple and see how you like it. Publisher's description: "The essential tech news you need every day in 10 minutes or less."
It's Okay to Be Confused!
Listening to these podcasts will get you started on your path to amateur tech geekdom. And remember: It's okay to be confused while listening! If you're not a bit confused from time to time, then you're not stretching yourself. So dive in, give yourself permission to get lost, press "Pause" and Google what's confusing you before you continue. Or rewind, if necessary, to hear that confusing part again. (I do this all the time and I've been listening to this stuff for over two decades!)
You're likely to find that it's fun to be challenged and "always learning!" And in the meantime, your family and friends might soon come to rely on you as their local tech support guru! Enjoy!