Coping with Technology
Posted: September 25, 2020
Technophobes are born, not made…
Book Debut x Lockdown = Migraine Headache
In addition to all the other barriers over which an author must leap to get a new title noticed—the million other books on Amazon, general information overload, and the November elections, to name just three—I am now contending with stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19. Bookstores are not hosting signings, club meetings are being held remotely, and there are no face-to-face interactions of any kind to help me get out the word about Parents of Adult Children: You Are Not Alone. That means I have to rely solely on technology. This is the kiss of death for a technophobe such as I.
Technophobes are born, not made, and I am one of those who was born technologically challenged. How challenged am I? Well, I have to summon my husband to turn on the TV because I can never figure out which gizmo brings in cable, which one turns on Pandora, and which one could probably blow up an enemy warship. My sister says every time she’s spoken to me on the phone and call waiting buzzes, I’ve disconnected her. (Surely, that’s an exaggeration.)
As another case in point, after many years as a freelancer, I took a full-time job at a Santa Barbara institution of higher learning. I felt like a modern-day Rip Van Winkle who had gone to sleep in the age of the Selectric typewriter and pink While you were out slips and woke up to a world full of sophisticated software. The school put me through an intensive orientation, which they called “onboarding,” but which I thought of as “waterboarding.” This was supposed to familiarize me with their donor-tracking system, which consisted of an elaborate set of numbers and codes. For some reason it didn’t “speak” to me. In fact, I was sure that with one click of the mouse, I would send decades of hard-won research out into the ether, never to return. Recognizing a hopeless case when it saw one, the institution finally threw in the towel and gave me an assistant to do my inputting.
The black hole of social media
How I wish I had that assistant now! I’ve read Facebook for Dummies, Facebook and Twitter for Seniors for Dummies, and Social Media Marketing for Dummies. My college degree and authorship of eight books notwithstanding, I am still a dummy. Yet I soldier on. To let the world know about my new book in the age of Coronavirus, I’m learning how to make short videos on my computer (while trying to ignore the fact that I look like Morticia from the Addams Family no matter how many times I adjust the lighting). I’m also gingerly feeling my way around LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
For five minutes I thought I’d have to create content for TikTok and K-Pop, too, but then I saw that their audience was only 12 years old. Whew! I’m also learning that the social media beast demands constant feeding in the form of posts, links, likes, and follows. I don’t exactly know what it means to “tag” someone in a photo, but I do it often and with delirious abandon because it seems like the friendly thing to do. For the record, I am not now nor will I ever be “trending,” but, hey, at least I’m in the game.
© Barbara Greenleaf
Search all articles byBarbara is the author of eight books, including two of particular interest to seniors. She has given us permission to use material from her newsletter, "From the Desk of Barbara Greenleaf," to which you can subscribe on her website. • Author bio (website*) • E-mail the author (moc.faelneergarabrab@arabrab*) • Author's website (personal or primary**)
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