I am a child of that tactile world of rotary telephones, record players and hand-written letters.
I can recall being marched into a room on the top floor of the elementary school to view a thing called a computer that even the teacher seemed afraid of. We surrounded it like bystanders gawking at an accident scene as it sat on a table looking rather lonely. Look but don’t touch, were the instructions. It was a moment of awe, the future of something in front of us, but what?
I liked that it was called a Macintosh like the apples we ate at home. Then we were ushered out of the room and I didn’t see another plastic box with a built in TV screen for about four more years when I signed up to take computers in Grade 8. I had wanted to take art or drama but my parents said computers would be good for my future.
It was a glorified typing class with no paper waste. I don’t think the teacher knew what else to do with them and us. Once my ASDF JKL; was up to snuff, I played a lot of Where in the World is Carmen Santiago, a new computer game based on geography.
Fast forward to 2013.
Where the hell is cyberspace? Coming from that tactile place of foolscap and three-ringed binders, I grapple with where all of this digital, virtual stuff IS so that I can put my hands on it. I want to make a collage with magazine clippings that explains it or a homemade flour paste diorama that shows just where things are stored. I want to go to the Dewey Decimal catalogue and pull open the little wooden drawers that release that lovely, comforting, old cardstock smell and look up BOOKMARKS so that I can find them again.
I just spent the last hour frantically trying to figure out where my bookmarks went as somehow I have been thrust into a new home page without being asked about it. Then I opened my email to see that I’m being coaxed to upgrade to some new email entity with a veiled threat implying that the email I’ve had for 14 years is likely going to disappear the same way my home page did today.
And after having read several articles recently about how we should all have an online presence in order to matter, I’ve joined the Twitterverse (or is it Twitter Nation?) with nervous apprehension; nervous excited and nervous nauseous all at once.
Now, I like Twitter. I use it at work, but I’m not sure how I feel about broadcasting myself as a developing writer on Twitter. I get the sense that a good way to expand my network and find like-minded people is to put myself out there so I’ll give it a whirl. What could go wrong?
If I don’t want to get left behind then I suppose I need to jump headlong into social media and figure out how to work it and have fun with it. The harder I push myself to embrace these intangible technological challenges, the more I grow.
It would be nice to feel clever once in a while. In order to feel clever, I have to start off ignorant and risk failing. I keep telling myself that it can only get easier the more I participate in it. To prove that point, I did eventually find and relocate my Bookmarks to the new home page so that I could get back in here and write this post.