Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lagging Behind

I can get just so far with modern technology and then I crash painfully into the limitations of my age face first. This blog is a perfect example. I don't remember exactly when I started it but it's been a while, a couple years maybe. It is labelled a blog, but it isn't really, because blogs have pictures and links and videos and other neat little extras. What this is, is an electronic column. The same thing I've been doing for 30 years only on the computer instead of paper.

It's the same with my other technological possessions. I dip a toe into the 21st century and that's as far as I get. I use my fancy digital camera to take pictures. Okay, I've got that down, but I flunked my Photography for Beginners course, slinking out in shame after only two classes. So I don't add borders to my pictures, or shadows or captions. I don't enlarge them to poster size or shrink them to make my own postage stamps. I don't blend two photos into one. I don't create electronic albums to share with internet friends.

I make and receive phone calls on my cell phone. I've never checked a stock price or located myself on the earth via GPS. I've never texted or twittered. I've never set an alarm so I don't miss an appointment (I have a calendar in my purse that's quicker). I've never downloaded a ringtone or played a game. I did take a picture once, accidentally. It's a shot of my office floor, in case I ever want to remember what that looks like.

My latest venture into the wonderful world of technology involves my membership on Facebook. I was told by B. J. at the Courthouse that I had to join.

"Why?" I asked.

He explained that lots of people I knew were there - people from the Sheriff's Department and the Courthouse and the City Police, people I'd worked with and been friends with. It was a great way to stay in touch and keep up with the news. B. J. told me to open a Facebook account and then shoot him an e-mail. He'd send me an invitation to be one of his Friends. One thing would lead to another.

So, I did all that and sure enough, it was gratifying to get lots more notifications from people inviting me to be their friend and to have personal messages posted on my "wall". And it is fun to keep up on what everyone is doing now and what is going on in local government.

But once again, Facebook is making me feel inadequate. For one thing, there is an impersonal gray silhouette above my name where everyone else has pictures of themselves or their kids or their favorite cartoon characters or some symbol, like a badge, that represents them. I have no clue how to download (or is it upload?) a picture so I'll probably continue to be a silhouette for the foreseeable future.

I did participate in one of the little quizzes Facebook offers and discovered that if I was a hotel in Las Vegas, I would be the Bellagio. I'm not sure how important knowing that is in the scheme of things. In fact, I doubt it's validity. If I really was a hotel in Las Vegas, I'd probably be one of those older, shabbier ones - that some entrepreneur is looking at to buy and implode so a new sleek one can be built on my spot.

You can look up old classmates on Facebook but I haven't tried to do this. I attended 12 schools in 12 years. I don't have the energy to enter them all into Facebook's "Search" box.

In addition to individuals, you can look for Facebook Groups. I joined a Jimmie Johnson Fan Group. There seems to be a Group for every conceivable interest. I wonder if there an "Senior Citizens Falling Behind the Technology" Group?