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Friday, November 8, 2013

Facetubeinstatwit#$%-what?!

Photo: www.theguardian.com
I don't usually feel old or outdated. My daughter would happily tell you I'm like a dinosaur, but from a personal perspective I don't feel much different than I did when I was twenty. With one exception: All the tech-stuff baffles me.

Let's be clear here; I am a reasonably intelligent person who is capable of learning new skills and integrating them into my life. The fact that I have this blog that I almost know how to use correctly AND I'm accessing it through a computer I sort of can make work is proof of that. But it isn't easy for me, or comfortable. And now I'm really trying to utilize social media to promote my book, and it's creating quite a stir within my psyche. I feel like I'm trying to learn a new language, and in a way that's almost exactly what I'm doing. Historically, my language-learning hasn't gone so well. I used to know a fair bit of French (of the Canadian variety. I grew up on the border.) but forgot most of what I knew just by moving a couple of hours south and never hearing/using it. I tried to learn Russian for a minute, but couldn't retain any type of motivation so I put it aside and didn't go back to it. Not the most excellent track record. But this "new language" is about marketing and survival in a technological world. It's a language that the kids innately know, and when new things crop up they assimilate them at an astounding rate. I may not feel like a dinosaur, but I suppose in some ways that I am.

To be fair, I grew up in a very different environment. I was born in 1969, I was a child in the 70's, a teenager in the 80's. I also grew up in a small town in rural Vermont, so however behind the times were, my part of the world was even more so. I remember being really stoked because we had a color TV with three channels. I remember how awesome it was to have our own, private phone line (vs a party line). I remember telephones with dials, the long, twisted cord that held the receiver to the body of the phone (which was screwed into the wall.) and fighting over it because there was only one in the house. There was no such thing as an answering machine. People were home to answer or they weren't. There was no call waiting, just a busy signal. I remember in the 80's when VCR's first came out. The idea of being able to watch a movie in your own home was mindblowing. You could rent a VCR with your evening movies. They were really expensive so very few households had their own. There was also something called "Beta" that was like a smaller VCR tape, but they didn't last long. I remember playing "Pong" and "Pac-man" on my uber-modern Atari video game. The first portable phones were enormous car-phones that only the very important and the very wealthy had. They were sort of a status symbol, and I only ever saw them on TV. They were big, blocky things with antennas. When I was older and took my first computer course, the discs were actually floppy and what we were learning was MS DOS. I'm telling you, the world was an entirely different place.

It was sort of a trade off I suppose. I miss people actually looking into each others faces when they talk. Now, everybody always walks with their heads down because they are looking at their phones. Manners and people-skills have completely disappeared. THAT feels like a real loss. Nobody really connects anymore, but I've kind of gone off on a tangent I hadn't intended to go on.

Connecting in today's world means being proficient with all the social-media options available. And it's not enough to be proficient with just one. You have to be able to navigate most of them, AND make them talk to each other to reach the maximum number of people. YEAH for how small the world has become as a result of all the new ways there are to connect, but woe to those of us who struggle with the logistics! I think I sort of did it though. I figured out how to post this blog on Twitter and have it automatically post on my fan page on Facebook. I like the fan page idea, because it gives me a place for my shameless self-promotion without bombarding my friends who may not give a rat's furry behind about my book. Cool Beans :-) But I realize that the small bit that I've managed is just that; the tip of the iceberg. There is much left for me to tackle, and I feel like a tyrannosaur trying to do it with my ineffective, tiny arms.

 Don't worry about me though. I'll figure it out :-)

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