To many of the “older generation”, technology is the new Greek. I’ve been trying to get a handle on this social media stuff for a while. It all started when I was heading up the Master Gardener Team for the Chet Clayton Rose Garden at the University of RI. Our Gardening With the Masters Weekend was fast approaching. A call for photos went out, and not paying much attention to what I was doing, I followed the directions and posted the photos. ON FACEBOOK! I am still not sure how this happened, but suddenly I had a Facebook Account. After years of avoiding social media like the plague, I was in the middle of an onslaught. Automatic invitations had been sent out to everyone on my email list and I began to get “accepts”. Charley called me from his daughter’s car. She had received my “friend” invitation. He assured her that it couldn’t possibly be me. (He’s the computer person in our house.) I was just using the contraption to check emails, and when it didn’t shut down fast enough, I would bash the PC on its side with my fist until the screen went blank. (Charley was constantly getting error messages when he would open it up; much to his chagrin.) “What is going on?” he asked as I screamed into the phone, “Get home now. I don’t know how to stop these friend messages. I found an article and it says something about privacy settings. There has to be some way to undo this!” He said he would be home as soon as possible and under no circumstances was I to abuse the computer. Instead, I found the privacy settings and I began to “unfriend” everyone who was so graciously welcoming me as their newest “friend” in the world of social media.
My niece called, irate. “Auntie, did you just unfriend me?” I pled guilty, but told her not to take it personally, I was unfriending everybody. “Are you crazy?” (As if there was ever any doubt of that among my family and friends.) “You can’t just go around unfriending people. It’s REALLY BAD, Auntie.” I explained my dilemma and she said she would come over to help me. “Stay away from the computer until I get there,” she cautioned.
After she educated me on the intricacies of Facebook, stressing the etiquette part, I agreed to try it for one year. And I did. And exactly one year later I said “Goodbye” to the few Facebook friends I had left over from the initial fiasco, and I closed my account. That was a few years ago. In the interim, I wrote a book, A Berkshire Tale and was informed, by those in the know, that I should have a Blog to get my message out there. “Out where?” I asked. “Out There!” I was told. And so began Around ZuZu’s Barn. Well, actually, it took one OLLI Course and two and a half months of experimenting with WordPress to finally get the first post published. Oh, and Charley gave me “WordPress for Dummies” which I carefully read and underlined. But in the end, it was Rob and Peg who guided me through, And now, I have actually posted a few articles and created a Page (which still needs a lot of work). I’ve recently learned how to add pictures into the posts, but was informed by my husband, one of only a few followers, that his last email post had no photos in it; just the text and squares with question marks in the middle where the pictures should have been. Peg helped me undo the mess, although we still can’t figure out how I did it. So, I’ll take this moment to say “Sorry” to my loyal handful of followers. I’ll try not to let it happen again.
Now, the point I am attempting to make is that a young person has little or no problem with all of this. It’s not Greek to them. I see babies using IPads! (How do they afford them, I’ve often wondered. But, I digress.) The younger generation just takes it all in stride because they’re introduced to it long before they even start school. It’s the same thing with reading. If we put aside some time to read with young children and get them actively involved in the process, it won’t be such a struggle for them when they begin school. And in the end, they will be more successful in their studies.
My nephew ( who thinks I am excessively stubborn, I might add) convinced me, after much gnashing of teeth, to link a Twitter Account to the Blog. I’m not sure I’m actually doing it right. But he did make sure to go over twitter etiquette with me, so hopefully I will not alienate people I don’t even know. Also, I was thinking of inserting some photos into this post: me beating up our old PC; me gnashing my teeth; me alone and friendless; a baby with a laptop. But, I would like to get this out before 2AM (unlike last Sunday) so, I’ll leave you with the promise that my next Blog post on the Red Lion Inn will be loaded with pictures.