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Friday, December 31, 2010

Retiring Minds Don't Want to Know That They Have the Wisdom and Experience That The World Needs (and the computer is the medium through which to share it)

"I don't want to fool with that computer."
"You're not going to make me have one of those computers in my house."
"I am not going to go on that Facebook.  Can't people use the telephone anymore?"

I hear different versions of these statements from mostly retired people whose blunt rejection of technology asserts the idea that he or she has narrowly escaped being kidnapped by some form of extraterrestrial or that they have avoided the dark side of man's sinful nature.

Occasionally, he or she goes on to say that they don't want to mess with Facebook (they frown when they say this) and email is all they're going to do because they have to.  The implication here is that they would give up email too if they could.  Don't blame them.  Email is always with me, and sometimes I want to shut it down too.  I am able to not check my email for long periods of time and I consider this a virtue.

But what troubles me about people who reject technology out of hand is not the connections they are denying themselves; it is their wisdom and meaningful experiences which I believe they have and do not share as expansively as many younger people with less wisdom give away freely.  Because there is a lack of substantial depth from people who have lived long and prospered and could explain how/why, younger people don't really have a sense of what seasoned wisdom is.

I think the major problem with retiring people shunning technology stems from a misunderstanding that hardware, which seems very complex, is similar to complexity of use in software, but they're not the same.

You don't have to understand or grasp the physical complexities of bandwidth, fiber optics, and assorted other words to be able to turn on the computer.  And you don't have to be afraid of software. When I speak with people who are resistant to moving from emailing to blogging--and they're the ones with something to say--I whisper, "You can't break it."

You can get snarled up, but you can't break the computer.  When you get snarled up, you can always hit Control/Alternate/Delete at the same time, and it will back you out of the problem you are having.

Also, if you do something that really freezes up the movement of your computer, you can reset the whole shebang by going to your help button, finding System Restore and letting the sequence of events take you through the process of going backwards in computer time to the day or week before when your computer was not frozen or snarled up. Then, shut it down and bring it back to life and you're in business again.

People who are afraid of using technology listen to me when I talk about resetting the whole shebang, but only one person so far has let me lead her into blogging, which I fervently believe she should do because she has a great deal to offer about the subject she is writing about, and I think the web exists for the purpose of sharing the kind of information she has.

It also connects people.  I believe in the webs of connection that the internet makes possible, and sometimes older people who have lost many friends and are living comparably isolated lives don't realize the extent to which they can touch and be touched online, fearlessly, is they choose to believe:  Hardware and software are two different tools and quite hard to break.

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