“Biddy” Spills Her Thoughts into Cyberspace
I may be trying the unthinkable here (with my blog), for half of my intended audience (other than younger people who hope to connect better with parents/grandparents) are people my age. Why might that be a problem for me? They’re not the ones who use computers regularly.
How do I know? Three close friends told me this summer: “Colleen, I get your e-mail notices, but to be honest, I don’t even know what a blog is and I don’t know how to comment, so I say nothing.” I told them a blog is simply a series of journal posts–like a diary–in which the author comments on aspects of interest to him or her.
I added that a Comment section is at the bottom of each post (entry) to allow readers to respond. They needn’t fear their information going anywhere else; they can use a fictional name (in fact, some use different names to afford them anonymity, and one almost vies with Sybil of 17 personalities’ fame). I go on to tell them their e-mail address won’t be shared. But I understand their concerns.
To most people my age, computers are invasive creatures that we seniors fence with in our zeal to see the grandkids’ newest photos, get family and friend info, pay the bills, etc.
I recall all the trouble I had, recently, when I bought a new computer, only to discover my old stuff wasn’t already on it…cocked and loaded. I went into a deep depression, as I learned: I’d have to do that!
Why was this a vexing problem? Because computers are a medium we weren’t brought up with and just as soon as I achieved minimal comfort level with the one I’d had for years, I upgraded and bought a new one. That’s when I noted that I needed to accommodate to a whole new system… new hardware… and the inevitable new terminology that accompanies.
Let’s face it: It isn’t easy. Even the vocabulary is problematic. I mean “What is a URL and why do I need one?” I don’t like scrolling some Google website for the answers either, because when I do, I forget what I was doing originally. Instead, I find myself wandering around in cyberspace with road signs I don’t understand.
And then, there are all those byways luring me to other destinations, distracting me from the first.
We seniors shouldn’t be ridiculed for lack of knowledge in this medium for we know things younger people don’t. That was made all too clear in a “Friends” episode when Jennifer Anniston’s character complained about all that money coming out of her check. She asked, “And who is this FICA person anyway, and why am I supporting her?” “I don’t even know anyone named FICA.”
Now, why is my computer so personally scary? I can’t count the number of times I’ve worked feverishly on something, only to hit the wrong button at the end, and voila—I just deleted ALL of it. Sometimes, I’ve excised whole databases and sat in disbelief. If you’re a journalist (like me), deadlines matter, so it’s not just an inconvenience. I curse the arrival of the Cyber Monster that dictates how I work.
Another thing I’ve noticed: If I hire a tech. tutor, that person is simply not on my planet (like the Star Trek crowd). So, I must stop him—often—and direct him to “Back up,” in his instruction, and “Go slower.” You see, I’m not interested in seeing how fast he can do something on my computer; I want to learn how I can do it (but only because I have to).
In conclusion, BiddyBytes.com is a miracle…not so much for what’s on it, but for the fact, I created it, with my limited computer skills! That alone should give my contemporaries courage.
So if you have a computer-challenged person in your family (who could use this Pep-Talk), send them my blog address (URL) and encourage them to enter the dialogue (Comment section at bottom of each posting).
But first, walk them through how to cut and paste the URL–www.biddybytes.com–into their browser (are you impressed?) and add my blog site to their “Favorites.” In this way, they can access Biddy Bytes, easily.
Why is it just smart for the younger generation to help elders get a handle on technology? If you help them now to get savvy with the computer, they’ll meet new friends; they can flex their cerebral muscles (warding off alzheimer’s); and they can travel (mentally)…when it’s no longer possible to do so physically. This means they’ll be less dependent on you.
***Now, feel free to share your own experience with your computer, in the Comments section below. Specifically, do you surf the web or do you use your computer to merely access photos of grandkids, pay bills, etc.? Do you suffer anxiety when your computer is “down” (as I do)? Do you use it daily……or only sporadically?
And Biddy understands, too: If she doesn’t hear from you, it may be because you’re uncomfortable hitting that “Comment” section and responding, a situation she hopes will change