Bite My Coin

I know there are fellow baby boomers who embraced each new technological marvel as it came along: the first primitive computers, the first BlackBerry phones, the first digital cameras. But I’ve resisted technology every step of the way.

When the newspaper I worked for in the 1980s started replacing our manual typewriters with computers, the management decided the best way to get its employees comfortable with this new technology was to teach us in the comfort of our own homes. I felt pretty confident after listening to the tech guy go through the whole system with me, but after he left I couldn’t figure out how to start the computer on my own. I was so frustrated that my impulse was to throw the computer through the front window.

I eventually got comfortable with computers—I had no choice—and even started to appreciate that they made writing and editing easier; instead of using white-out and pasting (with glue) strips of paper over mistakes, I could do that with a few keystrokes.

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Dropping Out

I’m not quite there but I’m getting to the point where I can see the pleasures of dropping out—not like in the 1970s, when young people wanted to flee a materialistic society and live simply  off the land. That life sounds more appealing now than the virtual one I scramble to keep up with. Long ago (in the time line of the Internet and social media) I got on Facebook, but I sometimes wonder if I should be on Twitter or Instagram in order to keep up with things. Am I missing out by not being more fully engaged with social media?

How much of my precious time do I want to spend in an online world that is moving so fast I can hardly keep up?

It’s that “keeping up with things” that I struggle with. As I get older, I want my life to get simpler, while social media complicates it and challenges me with new terminology (meme, troll) and new platforms that I struggle to make sense of. I’m so out of touch with the electronic world that when I first read a long article in the New Yorker several years ago about a new program—I mean, platform—called Twitter, I was skeptical and scornful. Why would anyone want to write in a format where you were limited to 140 characters? Well, our president for one, along with millions of others.

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