by Jane M. Bailey
“Monthly Musing” column published in Litchfield (CT) Connection April, 2023.
Every day I need trek poles to navigate technology terrain that changes with the weather.
Let’s start with social media. I’m facile with Facebook, but my friends have abandoned me for Instagram and Twitter. Notice I said “my” friends. The younger crowd is already gone from there. They are on to Tik Tok and beyond. I like to sound hip so I’ve done some homework for you, thanks to the old version of Google. Not the new AI version spitting out half-truths.
According to “Top 20 New Social Media Networks, March 2023,” here’s where the influencers are heading: Quest, Twitter Spaces (not to be confused with Twitter itself), Pear Pop and Yubo. Yubo is a “hybrid between Omegle, dating apps, and Facetime to share ‘real selves’ in a safe space.”
I stopped reading right there. The quest to understand social media makes quantum mechanics seem easy!
First of all, what the heck is Omegle? Second of all, who needs some technology hybrid to share ‘real selves’ in a safe space? That was called a kitchen in my dating years. I’d boil some water, pour some tea, and some date and I would have a ‘real conversation’ around the table. My parents and siblings would wander in to check out my latest interest.
Since I’m sounding cranky, I’ll go on to my next technology peeve. It’s called ‘sticky sites.’ I’ll get an interesting site that pops up from who knows where. The latest was from “Bra Goddess” advertising amazing bras to enhance whatever you might not be endowed with. I made the mistake of clicking through their wares. Big mistake. It’s now a ‘sticky site.’ I cannot get rid of it. I know. Unsubscribe. I tried that. They tell me that was successful! Yay. Except it wasn’t. It’s back. I unsubscribed again. Back again. Now what? I have a list of my unsubscribed subscriptions. Sigh.
Then there are cool applications of QR codes. I go to a show and instead of a program, I get a QR code. The phone I closed down so I wouldn’t inadvertently hear a ring during the performance needs to get opened in time to have the program pop up. Fine. I get it. But now I have to fiddle with making the font large enough to read in the semi-dark and scroll through to find the actual program vs the actor bios, which I also like to read. I can’t easily flip back and forth as I have to scroll through ads and links that get me sidetracked. So no, I’d rather have a real program, thank you very much. Besides, what about my father-in-law’s collection of PlayBills dating back to his theater days in the 30’s and 40’s. Can we have digital program collections?
I know, QR codes save money. They’re easy with lots of ways to use them that help. I’m just on phone use overload.
Here is the killer…You want to write? Say a book? Here’s news: you need an agent. Agents don’t care how or what you write. They care how you can sell your book on your platform. No, not platform shoes. They want you to have a media site that has garnered millions of followers who will buy whatever you are selling. A book? Great. You’ve now got an agent. For those of us with say twenty followers, don’t quit your day job!
This technology trek has me breathless. The view, however, from the plateau of texting can be lovely. Particularly texting with a teenage grandson, like mine. Parker lives in Virginia, far from my Connecticut abode. Thanks to texting, I get lots of technology smiles.
Me—”Hey Parker, You haven’t responded to my text.”
Parker—”Hey Mema, I didn’t respond because I’m in class. You can’t text me during school hours.”
Oops, I think as I tiptoe off.
Me—“Parker, Have a good rugby game today in DC.”
Parker—“Dear, mema Thank you Love, Parker”
Okay, a misplaced comma and missing cap, but goodness, a thank you and love across cyberspace is worth the technology trek.