Baffled by Technology and Social Media

I have been talking with my friends about technology lately, and the divide is growing between people on social media and people who aren’t. It seems to me that in general, as you grow older, unless you make a positive effort to stay current, you will just stop being interested in new tech. Inertia in the tech world is a killer.

I went to dinner with several friends in their early to mid fifties last Saturday at a retirement reception for a professor, and this was clear then. Out of eight people at the table, the only two who were on Facebook were the two who are in their late forties (me and another person that I graduated with). The others had all avoided it. Three of them even have kids, and that surprised me. Usually kids keep us current, but no, not this group. And the reason why I hadn’t heard from them in twenty -odd years is because they weren’t on Facebook.

It wasn’t like they had chosen to avoid Facebook and use Twitter or Instagram instead, which some people have been doing lately. They avoided all of it.

But then I think back to when I joined Facebook. I had never heard of it, and my husband joined first. I joined because of him. He’s the cool one in my family. Now neither of our kids want a Facebook account, although our 13-year old daughter has Snapchat, Instagram (or Insta as she calls it), and Twitter. I joined Snapchat and Instagram because our daughter hangs out here, but I still can’t force myself to look at Instagram much.

Here are my basic thoughts about the different social media platforms that I’ve had experience with.

  • Facebook –
    • Pros: It’s still my favorite, especially since I have weeded out all of the political people. I do like seeing how my friends from all over the country are doing, and I love connecting with writers who I have discovered in groups there: Colorado, Kansas, Texas, Georgia, New Zealand, and even Australia. I have actually met the one from Colorado in person when I flew to Denver, and I met the one in Georgia when I went down to Savannah for a conference. Although we had never met in person, it was like we were old friends in both cases. I also like how you can hide annoying people.
    • Cons: Why do people continue to post the “Pray for me” posts that say only that? Not what they want prayer for? If it’s too sensitive to post, then message your closest friends and move on. That avoids twenty responses that are basically “OMG! What’s Wrong!” followed by “I’ll PM you”.  She could have just PM’d them to begin with.
  • Twitter –
    • Pros: Twitter moves fast and furious, and if you collect a large number of followers, it can become  unwieldy if you don’t use the list feature. I like twitter for the personal interaction.
    • Cons: Sometimes Twitter sounds like a cocktail party where everyone in the room is shouting at each other and no one is listening. I’ve followed a lot of authors, and so much of their posts are “BUY MY BOOKS!” that it just becomes noise at some point.
    • Oh, and when my profile says I don’t like direct messages, then why do you do it? And when I get the followers who are selling more fake twitter followers, I block them. Who needs those people in their life?
  • Instagram –
    • Pros: None. I’m on it because my daughter is on it.
    • Cons: I don’t know the user names, which means half the time I don’t know who these people are.
  • Pinterest –
    • Pros: I like sharing pictures of my research that I do for my books.
    • Cons: I really don’t understand it, and I don’t do crafts or complicated recipes. Sometimes my life is a Pinterest fail, but only because I refuse to follow directions on recipes. I prefer winging it.
  • Snapchat –
    • Pros: You can share images without using much data. My daughter loves it.
    • Cons: Sometimes I just want to keep a copy of the Snapchat. I still don’t understand how to take a screenshot.

If I left out your favorite social media, you must be younger than I am and it’s because I’m not on them.

What frustrates you about social media? Do you wish you were less connected?

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