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?

Virginia Woolf – Trending on Twitter?

Yesterday I noticed that Virginia Woolf (d. 1941), one of the foremost modernists in English literature, was trending on twitter. What on earth? I was surprised, since I had not heard of a new movie or book coming out about her. It turns out a new audio recording was found of her voice, which kicked off an avalanche of twitter love. Yesterday was also her birthday.

Here is a link to the recording on the BBC: BBC Audio Recording by Virginia Woolf. I love British accents, but other than that, it doesn’t do much for me.

The Indigo Girls wrote a song, “Virginia Woolf” in 1992, as part of the album Rites of Passage. I love this album. 1992 was prime music time for me. I was 24, single, and had all the time in the world to become a writer. Unfortunately, after a disastrous year in the Purdue MFA program in Creative Writing, I was mentally blocked.

Even then, this song spoke to me. Part of the words are below:

They published your diary
And that’s how I got to know you
The key to the room of your own
And a mind without end

And here’s a young girl
On a kind of a telephone line through time
And the voice at the other end
Comes like a long lost friend

So I know I’m alright
Life will come and life will go
Still I feel it’s alright
‘Cause I just got a letter to my soul

And when my whole life is on the tip of my tongue
Empty pages for the no longer young
The apathy of time laughs in my face
You say “Each life has it’s place”

The hatches were battened
The thunder clouds rolled and the critics stormed
The battle surrounded the white flag of your youth
If you need to know that you weathered the storm
Of cruel mortality
A hundred years later I’m sittin’ here living proof

Read more: Indigo Girls – Virginia Woolf Lyrics | MetroLyrics

If you want to watch the video, here is the link:


On one of the Indigo Girls’ live albums, Emily Saliers talks about how her mother sent her a copy of Virginia Woolf’s diary, and that’s how she wrote the song. Emily is a prolific songwriter, and I can imagine that connection. I’ve felt it before from writers who are long gone.

There are so many books published now: ebooks ranging in length from short stories to long tomes, traditionally published books with small print runs giving service to what the New York editors deem is literature these days, and then the blockbuster novels that basically fund the big New York houses. Books can go viral in a heartbeat if they trigger emotion in enough people. Am I that good? I’d like to be. I’m not there yet, but with every book I refine my craft.

Now, Virginia Woolf is not only reaching out to people through her diaries, she is also trending on Twitter. Her story is sad in so many ways, especially considering her battle with mental illness and eventual suicide. She has been an inspiration to many, and yesterday Twitter stood up and paid attention. You go, Virginia.

And how am I doing? Editing the final book in City Lights, Winner Takes All, in a frenzy. Soon, baby soon. This will wind everything up. By the time I get edits back from the editor, I’m thinking early March. Hopefully I will have a pre-order link up soon.