Sometimes I feel a bit out of touch with the modern world despite the fact that I consider myself technologically “progressive”. I grew up with a Commodor Vic 20 and an Atari 2600 in the house. My favorite game on the latter was Q*bert. I grew up around the time disco died, hair bands were king, and electronic music was all the rage, and back when MTV actually showed music videos. I was also here for the advent of the internet, back before it had a graphical user interface. Who else remembers playing in the college MUDs or having to use typed commands to access ftp, gopher, and telnet? BBS’s anyone?
I began writing html back in the mid-90’s because I wanted a writer website. I created websites for the family business and created the sites for several organizations I belonged to. Back then – I was the person family and friends called when it came to computers. Not only was I lucky enough to have worked with the first home computers, but it gave me an advantage over a lot of people my age who didn’t have access to a home machine. Back then having a computer was still a bit of a luxury due to high price tags.
Things have definitely changed – for the better! Long gone are the days of having to know which command sends your email over a VAX system. Now anyone who can click a graphical button using a mouse can use virtually any aspect of the Internet.
Bloggers used to have to create their own websites from scratch. Blogging meant revamping an entire page on your site and re-uploading it. Thank the gods for sites/software like WordPress and Blogger. They make having to know html a thing of the past (though knowing a bit of html and asp.net still goes a long way).
Internet communities and message boards are easier than ever for anyone to create. Many free sites out there that will help you make what you want in under an hour.
I’ve even embraced video-chat, Youtube, and Webinars, and even that glorious thing that keeps me connected at all times – the Smart Phone.
I own a tablet, a Windows-based PC, a Mac (which I’m warming up to), and even a Linux machine.
So why is it that I feel so out of touch? I guess it’s a combination of things. First, there are so many social networking sites that I can scarcely keep up. Between this site, FB, Twitter, GoodReads, Pintrest and Tumblr, I’m not sure which way is up. Marketing folks will tell you that you need to use all of them if you want your work out there for the world to see. My biggest challenge in all of this is to make it automatic that my WordPress posts to my Twitter, GoodReads, and Tumblr, and from my Twitter to my FB, and that my social networking scheduler makes sure regular posts appear on Twitter and FB at carefully planned intervals.
Don’t be surprised if, when I die, I continue to post. It’s not me coming back from the grave, I swear. It’s pre-scheduled.
The second reason I feel so out of touch is because, let’s face it, I’m not in my teens or twenties anymore, and the older you get, the more you find yourself not on the same page with younger folks. It happens so gradually you don’t even notice until you wake up one day and go — everyone here is my age or older… So I often find myself asking my younger friends which sites they use more and where they hang out online. Not because I want to pretend I’m still in my twenties or that I’m somehow pining for my lost youth, but because keeping one’s writing out in front of readers depends on knowing where your readers hang out. Not all of my readers are 35+. I have a good number of younger adult readers aged 18-35.
Of course I always hope I’m never one of those elders who has to call on my nephew or great niece whenever I can’t figure out the new tech. I plan on continuing to be progressive, like my own parents, and accepting and working with each new technology or social connection site as it comes. It’s kind of exciting to see what inventive people will come up with next. I’m pretty sure this out-of-touch thing is all in my head and stems from trying to keep up with all the great ways of connecting with my readers.
So what are some of your favorite social networking sites and modern web favorites? Do you ever feel like you’re losing touch with the crazy web we live in? Share in the comments below.