Wednesday, February 25, 2009

All a Twitter


I am at an age where I am no longer desired by advertisers on either end of the spectrum. I am not interested in ads for X-Box or Play Stations, Proactive acne products, Red Bull, any brand of beer or condoms. Nor am I interested in ads showcasing emergency medical alert systems, Video Professor computer training CDs, Hoveround Scooters or any entertainment attraction in Branson, Missouri.

Likewise, I'm increasingly aware that I straddle two generational extremes when it comes to technology. While most of my contemporaries think that I am truly wired -- as technically geeky as anyone my age can be; compared to my kids, and generally anyone under the age of 35, my use and understanding of technology is antiquated. Their take on tech and what their elders do with it compares to how I viewed the old timers I worked with at my first real job. The women who called everybody else "kid" in a voice so gravelly they sounded like Harvey Fierstein with a head cold. The 'gals' who woke up in the morning and went to bed at night with a cigarette dangling from their red lipstick-slashed lips (back when people used to smoke anywhere they damn well pleased because this was a free country goddamnit!) and drank their lunch of gin & tonics or scotch & sodas at the bar downstairs. The ones who still insisted on using manual typewriters and were proud of it, while I smugly typed away on my brand new IBM Selectric with the little ball that flipped for each letter and built in correction tape. Now that was technology.

Where was this ramble down memory lane going? Oh yeah, sorry.

This wide technology gulf, which I attempt to span in my own small way, was highlighted last night and the pundits will be talking about it for weeks.

Nothing looks more ridiculous than someone attempting to use technology they do not understand, at a time they should not be using it, and fucking it up as they do so. I should know. I've made an ass of myself many, many times this way. It is one of my favorite ways to look foolish.

Evidently the "in" thing now for the over 55, white, male, conservative, republican, member of congress set is to clumsily Tweet on their Blackberry (another technological advancement they are just now learning about and are reportedly most interested in the alarm clock and brick breaker.) To Twitter loudly and proudly for the whole world to see. When their sole job at the time, a job the taxpayers were paying them to do, was to sit quietly and listen to the President's address. Was that too much to ask? But, moving on... then to Twitter really stupid stuff before they realized that people would actually read what they said. And then when the stupid stuff was read by the wrong person, to blame it on an aide.

And if the 'aide' excuse was actually used, which is the sadder picture - a senator Twittering his contempt of the Speaker of the House without understanding the process well enough to realize just who would have access to his comments, or, a senator who wants to appear hip, even though he doesn't have a clue, so he asks his 22 year old aide to Twitter and pass it off as if it is coming from the senator? Pitiful

This unfortunate situation must be dealt with, before we are overwhelmed with head on Hovercraft collisions because 85 year old hipsters are too busy Twitting to watch where they are going. Or before a new icon appears on our Blackberrys, which when pressed, alerts the local emergency call center that an octogenarian, in a Twitting frenzy, overturned her walker and fell on top of it, and was thereby unable to get up.

I am reluctantly realizing technology is passing me by. No matter how hard I try, my Blackberry will never be fully integrated into my life, the way my daughter's iPhone is. Her iPhone is as much a
part of her body as her ears or her toes. To me, my Blackberry is simply a convenient and useful accessory.

While I spend multiple hours each day socially networking, getting my news, exploring and commenting on blogs, listening to podcasts and watching video online, I doubt I will ever feel comfortable using Twitter, just as I never got the appeal of instant messaging. (I assume this is an age thing. But my sometimes, extreme antisocial tendencies may be a factor.)

While this 'technological pass-over' does distress me, I've never wanted to be one of those women who at the age of fifty attempted and failed to look, act and dress like I was twenty-five. If an outfit looks great on a sixteen year old, it will probably look awful on me. If a specific technology is second nature to a sixteen year old, it will probably never be totally comfortable to me.

So to the senators and congressmen who looked utterly foolish last night I say "Gentlemen, be content that you have figured out how to send email. Put down your Blackberry and walk away from the Twitter."

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