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Social media inept

Updated on February 1, 2013

I’m not a betting man, yet I vowed I would never become illiterate in high tech. Of course, that oath was made when the most technologically-advanced mechanisms were 8-track tapes and electric typewriters. Yeah, it was said long after B&W televisions became obsolete, so I thought I was on safe ground. Thinking back, perhaps that wasn’t the smartest wager.

Still, I wondered why my technically illiterate parents would throw their hands up at each new breakthrough…VHS tapes, the Internet, and computers. Come on. It can’t be that hard. I must say that I felt a measure of delight when my mother would ask me to see if I could figure out what went wrong with the video player. I was at the top of my game then. Usually, a cord had come unplugged or the tape was jammed. In really technical situations, I would have to use the reset button. But in all fairness, I must admit that the early computers prior to Windows were less than user-friendly: DOS prompt, command-line, and formatting disks. If I asked my children to explain what these things meant, they would look up from their smart phones, smile at me, think briefly, and respond LOL my dad is so awkward #uncomfortable #soweird J BRB… I had to get help from my 12-year-old daughter to compose that last line. haha (sic)

So like it or not, social media is changing our lives at home, in business, community, government, and church. Yes. Every single interaction we have is impacted by technology and more specifically social media.

My wife and I took a little Wyoming getaway one winter for some extracurricular snow activities. It was sweet. In between snowmobiling and window-shopping, we had a little time to check out the less-frequented, small shops around town. Because of our love for the classic, I remember walking into an antique store and seeing a lot of familiar things. Looking back, that should have been a dead giveaway. But no, soon I was shaking my head and thinking “We used to have manual egg beaters just like these. That’s funny. Why do they have all this stuff here in an antique shop of all places?” It looked like my old bedroom: compass, cassette tapes, cotton backpack, and a sled with wooden slats and metal runners. Totally oblivious, I thought how funny it was that this little antique store didn’t really have old stuff, so they must use what they can. That was nearly 20 years ago. I have since realized that my life is depicted in antique stores, vintage books, and photo albums. Just ask my kids.

I have to admit things have changed. For comparison, what covers my children’s bedrooms? Well start with ipod, ipad, iphone, siri, laptop, dvd, gps, apps, pinterest, instagram, google, twitter, tumblr, ebay, smileyface, flickr, instant messaging, youtube, emoji, skype, snapchat, facetime, trending, itunes, going viral, and hashtag #hehasnoideawhatheistalkingabout. I could go on. You get the idea.

Terms like myspace, email, and wordperfect are already antiquated, obsolete, and relics—depending on who you ask. Would you believe it if I told you the largest age group using social networking sites is 35-44 years, accounting for a full 25% of social media users. I can only wish that was still my age group, and I am fumbling to stay up with the times. Nevertheless, I feel like I am keeping my head above water, so to speak. I have both Facebook and Twitter accounts. I blog and occasionally tweet. And I even have a smartphone and use it semi-intelligently. Most the time, I can get the dvr to work when I want it to, even though I still depend on my children to get me out of really tight technical situations.

And though I don’t know all the social networking jargon, I would wager that I can still get myself around in today’s digital world. But then remember, I’m not a betting man. LOL


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