A version of this post will appear on www.emanatepr.com on Monday, July 6th. You’re reading it here first…
Anti-Social Media. There. I said it. But while I knew the concept had merit, I didn’t realize just how much until a recent trip to Bountiful. Well, actually, it’s Kaysville, but it used to be Bountiful, and a trip to Bountiful is just so much more fun to say. But back to the topic at hand. And yes, this post has just became a travel log. Gear up. Hunker down. Grab the chips. I’m serving up a travel log.
I sandwiched a quick “Mom’s Birthday/Father’s Day” trip home amid business travel this past week. My parents have been fighting technology – in the literal sense – for quite a while. Not because they don’t welcome it, but simply because they’re so busy being parents and grandparents and great-grandparents that it simply snuck up on them. One moment, something called WordPerfect (Google it) is making some neighbor in Provo a millionaire, and the next we’re talking micro-chips, identity theft, mobile banking and Facebook. And that’s just on their local news broadcast. But the conversations thrown around our family gatherings? Those truly raise my awareness of the anti-socialness (my blog post, my vocabulary) of Social Media.
In any given conversation between great-grandkids, grandkids and kids ranging from two months old (okay, not a lot of conversing, but they’re online in the form of photos) to my oldest brother at age 57, Mom and Dad are hearing words bantered about as verbs that mean absolutely nothing out of context: “Googled,” “friended,” “tweeted,” “IM”d,”to name just a few. And then you throw “comments on my Facebook page, “are you following me on Twitter,” “on my blog post” “in the blogosphere” (well, only those of us in the marketing world actually say that one… and then feel awkward about it) into the conversation, and you’re really heading for great generational communication – in which Grandma and Grandpa tend to be non-participants. Add to that mix the iPhones, iPods, Blackberries, and cell phones that none of us are ever without, and you’ve excluded them even more. How can something so beneficial be so alienating? So anti-social?
Thinking to overcome this technological/digital/social barrier, we bought Mom her own NetBook. What better way to have immediate access to everything I’ve just posted about, right? The family blogs, the grandkids’ personal email addresses (well from those grandkids who would actually share them… god forbid Grandma be able to contact you! “Friend” her? Not on your life!), the Gmail chat features, the digital photo downloads – all right there at her finger tips! And being the generous woman she is – and always will be – she accepted it with gratitude and awe… and, I’m sure, a whole lot of “like I have the time to learn all of this” and “yeah, you leave, and I have a beautiful white laptop-like-thing on my desk that I have no idea how turn on” running through her mind. But to her credit (and the fact that we gave her no choice… this family is built on love, after all) my mom hunkered down, dove into the password protection tutorials, the Gmail practice runs, the photo download and upload sessions, and even the Logitech Vid video phone capabilities, just for the experience of it all. Now THAT’S love! That’s true Grandma status if I’ve ever witnessed it.
To my family’s credit, the encouraging emails are pouring in. The over-the-phone tutorials are ongoing. The strategic grandson/tech wizard drive-bys continue. Will the constant advancement of technology and its uses continue to outpace Mom/Grandma/Great Grandma’s digital learning curve? Possibly. But who cares? Because we’re having some great fun catching up and reversing the Anti-Social Media trend, one trip to Bountiful – err, Kaysville – at a time.