Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Boomer Writer Tries to Keep Up

Sometimes when I’m online, I feel like I’m on an ice skating rink for the very first time, shaky on my feet, while seasoned skaters whiz by me doing effortless triple salchows and those cool looking sit spins. I’ve particularly felt this way more and more lately as I’ve begun to wade into Web 2.0 waters, having just recently signed up for Facebook and Twitter accounts. And now I’m launching this blog.

I’m hardly an internet newbie. Those familiar with my work know I’ve had an ezine for nearly a decade and a Web site for almost that long. I’m no stranger to forums, IMs , Webinars or online shopping. I rarely write a paper check these days if I can help it. I consider Google and email to be basic necessities.

But this recent onslaught of communcation options has this middle-aged head reeling. I am especially overwhelmed by the rapid development of numerous Twitter tools, having only just begun to dip a toe into the Twitter pool (or should I say raging flood) itself. The problem is, I love learning new things. I never needed to be the first kid on the block with the latest toy, as long as I eventually got to own one. I feel that way about many, if not most, current technological advances and Web-based tools. But things are just moving way, way too fast for me now. There’s so much to read, learn, explore, try. And still only 24 hours in a day.

I guess it all comes down to deciding what’s most important, and making choices. We can allow oursleves to drown in tweets and pokes, or we can take a step back, realize that it’s okay not to be able to keep pace with every single change, and make time for what really matters. For me that includes family, friends, writing, reading good books, gardening, and–-when I can–-finding time to learn a little more about these new-fangled ways to reach out to other people, especially writers, around the globe.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t always choose wisely. Real time flies in cyberspace. But I do strive for balance between the global community and my local one.

So as the young skaters fly past me, I try not to envy them too much. Thirty to forty years from now, I’m sure they will feel as befuddled as I sometimes do now. Not that I wish that for them; it’s just the natural order of things. Instead, I’ll simply admire their prowess, and try to learn a little from watching them. Who knows? Maybe some of them will take pity on a doddering baby boomer, and pull me along for the ride of my life.


  1. Mary Anne, you wrote how I feel almost word for word!

    It amazes me how people can be so high-profile on the Web and still live their ordinary lives. It's all so time-consuming.

    Despite (like you) having had a Web presence for the past 10 years, I have yet to feel I've found a balance. Between my Website, two blogs, Facebook, Twitter and a bunch of other online profiles, I think I need a plan!

    Twitter is something I'm trying but still feeling ambivalent about. My "followers" are still in the lower double digits and I'm not actively doing much to change that right now. The idea of having hundreds of followers (or how about 14,000, like the guy who landed the big 10-book deal?) is frankly overwhelming.

    My highest priority this month is to go visit my baby grandson in New Mexico. Every time I see his smiling face, I'm reminded that the important things in life are not about who has the most Tweets, link-backs, click-throughs, etc. It's about enjoying the journey and leaving some love trailing in our wakes.

    That being said, I'll try my grandmotherly best to keep up with this dizzying Internet world. I love the Internet and it has opened possibilities for me that I could not have dreamed for myself.

    Thanks for saying how I feel! And congrats on your new blog :0)

  2. I completely agree and understand, both with wanting to play with all of it and learn, and with realizing that I must prioritize, or all my precious time will be gone...

  3. Yes, time is eaten up online, but what a boon for us to be able to relieve that "writerly isolation" with some quick connecting. BTW I found your blog via someone's tweet on Twitter. :-)
    Mary Pierce

  4. Thanks for your comments--seems I am not at all alone in dealing with this dilemma. Have a great day.