When you bring up the subject of steno with your non-steno friends, your usual response is the sound of crickets. But why is that? Why doesn't more people know about steno? Spoiler alert: it's not because steno is too hard to learn (its pretty easy to pick up).
If you see people like Aerick on youtube, or even videos on the StenoKeyboards YouTube channel, you see typing speeds well over 100, 200, and even 300 words per minute. So this begs the question: why isn't more people using steno? It's fast, efficient, and ergonomic! There shouldn't be a reason not to learn steno!
For a long time, steno was very inaccessible. The steno machine and software would cost thousands of dollars, and the only place to learn it was at a steno university which charges thousands of dollars in tuition.
Just to learn steno to see whether you liked it or not would cost thousands of dollars.
There were three problems:
1. Expensive software
2. Expensive hardware
3. Expensive education
Only after the release of Plover in October 2010 were people able to download free software and use steno on their computers without emptying their pockets. Issue number 1 was eliminated.
Issue number 2 was also solved because Plover allowed you to get a taste of what steno is like with just a normal keyboard. You can try steno out on a normal keyboard and if it seems like fun you could keep learning, or if you don't like it, you could just stop without any sunken cost fallacies to worry about.
People who wanted to keep on learning could buy a professional machine, or better, a hobbyist steno keyboard like the Uni.
Issue number 3 was also solved when the community got together and created steno learning websites like Qwerty Steno and Typey Type. The theory "books" are also free including "Learn Plover" and "Art of Chording".
Okay, 1 2 and 3 are now solved. Steno is now very accessible. So why do I still hear crickets?
The problem is that steno is now made accessible, but that's it. It's just accessible. There's no general public knowledge about steno... yet.
The issues we are now faced with is ignorance and indifference. Most people either don't know what steno is, or don't care what steno is. Oh there's a faster way to type? Well I type fast already. Steno? Well I'm fine with sticking to Qwerty.
The first step to remedy this issue might be to raise awareness. It's a statistics game. The more people know about steno, the more people might want to try it out. There are thousands of people out there who's passion might be steno, but they never knew because no one told them about it.
The next step would be to make people care about steno. This addresses why they should learn it or at least give it a try because it's a very useful and beneficial tool.
Here at StenoKeyboards, we are selling our keyboard, making YouTube videos, and writing blogs to solve these two new issues.