I am underwater. Not in my home or mortgage. But while I have been sorting out the complexities of things like that -- refinancing the mortgage, for example, planning a daughter’s wedding, distributing the proceeds from my father’s estate, and catching up on the latest in young children’s literature for my grandsons -- I have missed the boat. And when you miss the boat, you can end up underwater, drowning in the tides of change.
Enough with the metaphor. Here’s what happened while I was emailing and texting, (with only my index finger): people began to communicate more often, indeed incessantly, via Facebook and Twitter. I was not totally unaware of this. I had, in fact, heard that college kids now eschew email and texting for Facebook, and I had noticed that our kids, all well beyond college, shared news among their peers via Facebook. But I mistakenly assumed I could keep up with social media by reading about it. I didn’t feel compelled to use it much myself, though I do have a Facebook page and a Twitter account (@thethirdthird).
Then yesterday the [Mayor of Dallas released a statement ]about a high-profile dispute between the Nasher Museum and its neighbors, the owners of a new luxury high-rise building, on his Facebook page, which was then duly quoted in the Dallas Morning News this morning. No face-to-face interviews, no phone calls, no “in an email message,” which journalists used to feel compelled to note. Just a pickup from the Mayor’s Facebook page which was, it must be noted, already out there, available to anyone who signed on.
There’s more: Last night I got an email (how quaint!) from Facebook, notifying me that my daughter had “tagged” me in a post. She had written “Thanks, Momma” and then posted the link to a [fabulous video] I had sent her (of women singing Leslie Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” in response to the GOP’s repressive policies toward women, rape, contraception, Planned Parenthood, choice and Roe v. Wade). I was happy to have the video broadcast, actually, along with Della’s dictum, “Now, go vote!”, but I am less comfortable with her broadcasting her thanks to me. I’m still (apparently) wed to the phone call, a quick note on a great piece of stationery or a funny card, even a quick email -- or text -- response; I don’t routinely check my Facebook page -- or anyone else’s -- for genuine conversation or real communication.
So I’m now feeling like the media, technology, the culture, whatever, is passing me by, and that feeling sucks. It is one of my core beliefs about this aging process -- that I will be irrefutably old and over-the-hill if I fail to adapt to change generally, but specifically to technological change. If I don’t switch from “VCR” to “DVR,” from LPs and albums to CDs and downloads, from laptop to ipad, if I don’t keep up, if I miss the boat. The fear is, that with change occurring at warp speed (a concept which may in itself be dated), if I ignore even one stage, I will fall irreversibly behind, go deeper and deeper underwater, be less connected with life and people -- the same way I would be, necessarily, if I were to lose my mobility, hearing, or sight.
There’s a remedy, of course -- a crash course in social media which I feel certain I can wrest from any one of our kids, and which I will undertake with all due speed. Then too, I have to own my hypocrisy, for I’d *like* to say my resistance has been about privacy -- mine and that of the folks I converse with, that I’m just not up to telling everyone what I need to know from my kids or everything I have to say to my friends. And yet, here, on TheThirdThird, that’s exactly what I do: I say what I think, and I hang it “out there,” albeit edited. And I beg women to “join in the conversation.”
Clearly I need to “get over it” and adapt to communication in the Social Media Era. Follow me. (On [Facebook] and [Twitter])
I’ll keep you posted.
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