Digital Immigrants

Today's cup of decaf is at the computer...


Yes, like most of us, my daily life includes computer time, for work, for pleasure, for information, for personal use, on many levels. Yet, somehow, things don’t always work the way they should. Shocking, I know. I sometimes get so excited when technology works correctly for me, because it is like an affirmation that I did nothing wrong. I somehow look to the computer to tell me I am smart, I am valuable, I am capable. I have chronic technology PTSD from times when things have gone south. I always blame myself for not knowing what I am doing, instead of blaming the technology for not working the way I need it to. It should be working for me, not me for it. Right?


Double Click

I have read articles about Baby Boomers and technology. Ha, Ha, Ha, the big joke about how Boomers don’t understand cell phones, computers, or the internet. Manny and Jay Pritchett of Modern Family, in the “Double Click” episode has us all laughing, because we can all relate to the “Lazy Millennial” teaching the “Digitally Illiterate” Boomer how to use the caps lock. Like the hundreds of people who barked back at Alexandra Petri’s 2013 column in the Washington Post entitled “What’s Wrong With Boomers, They Can’t Seem to Fend for Themselves,” I too take offense. Petri, and others more recently than her, claim we are technologically incompetent and they are tired of Boomers who can’t use technology. They are saying Boomers are having a hard time adjusting from rotary dial phones to the technology of today. We are sobbing and helpless fodder for our children’s endless, teasing pleasure. We are immediately reduced into the “you-don’t-know-anything” category when we can’t figure out the one thing we need, in the moment we need it. They forget that they couldn’t figure out lots of stuff in lots of moments, and we were patiently teaching them. We gave them time to learn and problem solve, so they could grow up and be the brilliant young adults that they are. They forget that Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, and Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs were all born in 1955. Pretty sure that makes them Baby Boomers, and they invented this stuff.


Conspiracy Theory

Why then, when I started to create this blog, did I enter into a technology twilight zone? It must be a conspiracy. Those Millennials want us to need them. They want us to remain “less-than” because we are the largest economically stable population in the world. At our age, we have more money and more time to spend it, than any other generation. If they keep us ignorant, then we have to keep buying, paying for, and needing their help. As a first step on this new “creative journey,” I asked for a few suggestions from my very own Millennials about which blog program I should use. Of course there are hundreds (part of the conspiracy) to choose from. I researched two and picked one that seemed suitable. I got sucked into the “in 20 minutes your site can be up and running” lie, and dove in.


Ugh

Over the course of the following week, I spent countless hours dragging, pasting, formatting, saving, clicking, uploading, downloading, and trying to stay calm. I may or may not have sent four emails to tech support, each increasing in their tone of agitation. I confess, I used the word “ugh” in one, and multiple times used lots of exclamation marks!!! I even threatened to “go with a different company,” if I didn’t get the help I needed. As if they would care! Within 48 hours of each email, I received one back, but never from the same person. I place this into the conspiracy pile. They must be out to get me. Millennials must hate me. I heard from Daniel, Caro, Reynaldo, and Gabriel. None of their messages actually helped me. They all politely apologized for my level of frustration, then referred me to the same “help” tips that I had already read and followed, one hundred times, with failure. With more exclamation marks, I became the devil customer. Of course, they were not likely to want to help the devil, so I had backed myself right into the conspiracy corner. I became the Baby Boomer, digital immigrant, who could not adjust to the new world.


Kids!

Distraught and discouraged, I awaited my Millennial to come home for the weekend. I kid you not, within about ten minutes, she got me out of the format mess, into a much better template, fixed ALL the problems, and click, click, click, it was better. “But, I DID that!” I said. “I tried that!” I exclaimed. “Twenty times I went to that same page and followed those exact instructions!” I cried. “Why didn’t it work for me and it worked for you?” I asked. “I don’t know mom,” she laughed and smiled. “I’m sorry mom, it just did.”


It’s a conspiracy. No other explanation.

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