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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Life's Little Indignities

I feel kind of bad about people in the post-70 age group who are very technophobic about computers.  There's a lot of wonderful stuff that they don't have access to because of that.  I'm not talking about Farmville or Bejeweled or the endless recountings of the misadventures of Lindsey Lohan.  The things I care most about are (1) the quick email access to my kids, my grandchildren, and my friends who are still living one of the various places where I used to live; and (2) the ability to find information easily, and especially when the information is something I used to know but because of my brain files having all filled up, I can no longer get access to.

I can do without Facebook; I don't really care much about everybody's minute to minute status.  I can even do without Jon Stewart (we have no TV).   But the email and the information (think 'Wikipedia'), I would really miss.  And so I'm sorry that my age-group acquaintances and friends are missing out on that, even if they aren't sorry.

What they are not missing out on, however, is a few experiences I have had, the most recent one yesterday.  I have to admit that I read a lot of politics on the Web.  A really lot, in truth.  I've got a dozen or so blogs that I attend to regularly (reading not writing, but I do write on three regularly), and various newspapers both here and outside the U.S. (as long as they are written in English) are regularly before my eyes.   I have one child (when will I stop calling an almost 50-year-old 'a child'?) who is very much on top of the technology and always telling me what to be attending to.  As a result, I was on Twitter and Reddit and Dig long before most people had ever heard of them.  And very long before I had much idea of what to do with them.  (Twitter?  Do nothing.)

Similarly, when Daily Kos showed up in the world, he became a writer there and urged me to do the same.  I joined up, wrote a few 'diaries' about healthcare reform and the need for same, and read many other writers' views on various public issues and on politics more generally.  (For those who don't follow this stuff, 'Daily Kos' is a sprawling kind of network for people of the progressive or leftist persuasion.  Or at least it is said to be that, although in recent times, it has become much more centrist in some ways. )

Anyway, another of my children followed us on to the Daily Kos site and she wrote with great frequency there, formed lots of cyber-relationships, had a good time.  But, she's more inclined to argue with people than either her brother or I am, and she got into some kind of shouting match with various other writers and the upshot was she was banned from the site.  So, since I rarely wrote anything there, I told her to use my account instead, writing under my name.  And then, I got banned yesterday for letting her do that.

So there you go: this is not going to happen to any of my friends who don't fool with computers and the net.  But it happened to me.  I have lived long enough to be banned, literally, by some group.  Me, personally.  Not only BANNED by Daily Kos; I have also had the peculiar experience of being Unfriended on Facebook--and by a relative.    This is also what technology is bringing us.  Too strange.

It may be enough to make me reconsider the virtues of information and email, but probably not.  And it definitely would have happened even if I didn't live in Point Roberts.

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