Let me first make an admission. I’m frightened of falling behind in tech literacy. It has something to do with the fact that, on my mother’s side, I come from a long line of Luddites. My grandmother had just barely came to grips with the dial telephone in her Eighties. And she never was able to overcome the fear that she MUST answer it every time it rang. Of course, she had no answering machine, but you also couldn’t tell her that she didn’t need to leap out of a bathtub to answer the phone. If it was a telemarketer, it wasn’t worth the risk of a broken hip. If it was a friend, they’d call back until they reached her. In spite of sixty million lessons, my mother still can’t operate her TV remote. We’re not talking the VCR. I mean the remote that just turns the TV on and off.
Unlike my mother and grandmother, I had a good head start to tech literacy and I’ve been striving to keep ahead of the curve. I’ve done well until recently.
I’m probably one of the few people my age who has used the Internet since age 18. Back in the Stone Age, when I was in college, the Interweb consisted largely of connections between Defense agencies. One of its first expansions was throughout the Ivy League and Seven Sister College network — thanks to Dr. Kemeny of Dartmouth. So we had free access to terminals in the computer lab. Sure we used it mostly to secure dates with Harvard boys for the weekend. But still.
Then I got one of the first Macs to roll off the assembly line. Seriously. Mine has such a low serial number, the inside is signed by all the Apple team including Steven Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
Oh yes, I’ve done my part.
But I’ve been slipping in recent years. I’ve only been on Flickr for a year. My blogging career is newborn. Still, I wasn’t prepared for the shock at a recent party where everyone, I mean EVERYONE, was talking about their Facebook pages and friends.
“Facebook. I thought that was for teens.”
“No way,” said my friend Julian, a highly placed Cisco executive. “We use it for networking. I travel extensively and I set up meetings and lunches around the world with it.”
I looked around incredulously and scores of lawyers, executives, doctors and other professionals all nodded. It was the look of pity in their eyes that got to me.
“Poor woman. She’s out of the tech loop. Must be her age.”
So I got me a Facebook account. Which is not much of an accomplishment since I haven’t gotten around to figuring out what I can do with it. Or even built my profile. But I’ve got one. And two people have signed up to be my friends. I have two friends. Great.
Which brings me to Twitter. Now, as the villain in Babes in Toyland said, “This little device could have some veerrrrry interesting uses.” Twitter lets you — in tiny bite-sized info-bits — update your entire fanbase of millions as to what you are doing at any particular moment. You can update by web or by mobile phone. I’ve got my updates going to both my blogs. Just imagine the possibilities! I’m not always good about updating my blogs, but now I can do it on the fly. From anywhere. At anytime.
Let’s say I’m hiking on our land in Sonoma. With my cell phone. And our resident Mountain Lion appears sailing through the air aiming for a bite to my cervical vertibrae. I could fire off a text message to my blogs: “About to be killed by Mt. Lion”. Actually, I couldn’t. If you’ve ever seen me text message, you know it takes me about 15 minutes to get my stubby fingers to tap out “Gt ur msg”.
But I have the technology. That’s what matters.