I’m beginning to do something I’ve put off for years. I’m starting a blog. Bear with me. I do not comprehend this new technology. I don’t understand it. I am reluctant to learn whole new systems. That said, intellectually I am sold on social media. I know that once I learn how to navigate it will serve me well. Somewhere else in my scattered operating system little fear modules, bots perhaps, run around blocking me as I wish to become an effective 21st Century communicator. Okay, I’m trying to overcome what every digital immigrant must: Fear of becoming a digital dud in an electronic age. That, and the fact that I’m looking hard at 73 years on this planet without WordPress or powerful things like LinkedIn or… It is a whole new world for an old fart. My learning curve should be noted, appreciated, shared… and pitied. I think I am not alone in this low level hell. But, as I say in my forthcoming book about education in the information age, if I can do it, others can too.
What I know I’m up against are processes. I call them the type-order – click-order mindsets. It seems that access to this whole new age is gained by pushing keys in complex sequences, and point-clicking with a mouse. That, and selecting dozens of user names, passwords, and special touchy places on sites so that I can get in. Once in, other sequences let me do things, I’m guessing. These complex patterns of mouse clicks and typing can take minutes, if you have a great memory for user names and passwords. Hopefully, I wrote them down somewhere (I didn’t). Oh, thank the gods, there they are on a list of dozens of other special access processes. Screw-up and I know I’m not going anywhere fast. In fact, hours will fly by and I will not succeed. I will sit before the computer screen and wonder why am I doing this; why am I so dumb? The answer is __________ fill in the answer that best fits. No, I may not say “The hell with it.”
Okay, I got in. I get one star for navigating. Now I think (incorrectly) that I am ready to follow scattered messages and directions related to the use of the site. No, I was wrong to expect this information to be easy to find. The teckie minds who designed the site don’t think like I do. They assume that I can accumulate data from fields of words surrounded by boxes or simply listed along the margins. Like this WordPress site. At first, second and … glance, I can’t find the information needed for the next step. In fact, I can’t discern what the next step is. Now, instead of getting to work doing the blogging I need to do, I will spend the next precious minutes or hours learning what the language of the site means. For example, Permalink. Oh, mutter mutter, what’s that? So I look around the page for help and find other words assigned to functions I don’t have a clue about. Words like Dashboard, Plugins, Visibility Public Edit, a box with a check in it before the word Uncategorized, to name just a few of the words that equal functions that I have no knowledge about. So what do I do? Okay, that helped. I’ll remember that screaming at the screen does have some function, if only to bring a person from the other room in who may help me. The well meaning other stares at the page and makes comments and suggestions. The word Tutorial comes up several times, and … no? No tutorial we can find. So, when I’m almost ready to douse my stomach with antacid, a digitally literate ‘old timer’ makes his way to my side. He reminds me of me when I was 19, only I didn’t wear my pants belted in the middle of my paisley shorts.