Tiptoeing into technology

We aren’t a technology-ignorant family. There are computers and DVD players in our household, a programmable coffee maker and assorted other electronics whose buttons we push with some measure of confidence. My hubby, however, has never had a good word to say about such things as iPods, Blackberries, tablets or smart phones. He prefers alternatives that don’t require dependence on rechargeable batteries and won’t lose his list of addresses and phone numbers by fatally crashing.

So when he suddenly announced last week that an eReader appealed to him, we were shocked. He had taken a hardcover library book to the hospital but found holding it up to focus on the fine print took more energy than he possessed. The advantages of his visiting daughter’s 6”/6 oz. eReader with its adjustable font sizes became apparent. After two days of researching eReader features, he had his new Kobo.

His doctor had suggested he ought to be carrying a cell phone with him when walking alone out here in the countryside, and the same day as the Kobo was acquired, our son produced a new cell phone – at least, newer than my failing twelve year old basic one. He transferred our coverage and data, gave a tutorial, provided a manual and handed it over.

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Now my hubby not only has a renewed lease on life but has also stepped willingly into the digital age… at least, he’s tiptoed a few paces in.  It hasn’t been entirely seamless. There’s a learning curve as he figures out such things as how to download books and assign quick keys to new phone numbers. The benefits of this technology for him are already obvious although I don’t expect he’ll be investing in an iPod or iPad anytime soon.

It has me re-evaluating certain attitudes – notably my reluctance to embrace aspects of social media. I’ve been one step behind everyone else, creating a blog and joining Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Google+ slowly and one at a time, only when every writer, agent and publisher I encountered insisted they were valuable tools for an aspiring author. I’ve resisted Pinterest, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, YouTube, forums, cyber games and any number of other activities designed to keep me online and away from my writing.

Their time may come, but for now I have other priorities. I’m trying to be selective in where I choose to spend my time and energy, because otherwise the really important things will get squeezed right out of my schedule. If I’m establishing a platform at the expense of not getting my writing completed, I’m hardly accomplishing anything worthwhile.

Like my hubby, I’m willing to take on new challenges but only when I recognize their value. Here’s my current checklist:

  • Know when a need exists
  • Do the appropriate research
  • Make wise and timely choices
  • Add one new venture at a time

You obviously spend some time reading blogs or you wouldn’t be here. What other ways do you participate in social media? Did you jump into several types at once, or which one(s) did you undertake first and why?

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8 thoughts on “Tiptoeing into technology

  1. Judith Robl says:

    I have a Facebook page as well as my personal FB account. I’m not sure of the value, but it’s there. I have a Twitter account which I rarely use. My blogs sometimes go a-begging for my attention. And I have a LinkedIn account. I was highly complimented just the other day when an editor I had met a couple of years ago at a conference invited me to connect on LinkedIn.

    Most of my online time is spent in Facebook and reading/commenting on several blogs which I have found valuable. Those and my online prayer circles just about do it. I try to keep my online work under an hour a day – not always successfully.

  2. Ezzy says:

    I have mixed feelings about social media. On the one hand, I’ve met some really amazing women who’ve become offline friends, but on the other, like you said, it does take time away from writing. I’m on all the big ones and especially enjoy Pinterest for the private boards I create for images that inspire stories.

    Thank you for being a bright spot in my inbox. Have a great week.

  3. christicorbett says:

    I am Generation X, but unlike my peers I’ve steered away from technology until the need is too great and it becomes something I must have. Example…I didn’t get a cell phone until my twins started school, and it’s the most basic model (I buy minutes every month from a card) and only the school and my husband have the number.

    I have Facebook and Twitter, but again those only came after much whining on my part.

    I believe face to face contact is best, and as a society we are losing the ability to communicate (and spell!) properly due to too much technology.

    It breaks my heart to see families sitting together at restaurants and each are staring at their own devices in hand instead of chatting with those who are right there. Time is precious, and once it’s gone it cannot be replaced, so I choose to cherish moments with my children.

    Interesting post!

    Christi Corbett

  4. I actually am a slow follower when it comes to social sites. Facebook was my first (although it took a while for me compared to a lot of those around me). Next was pinterest, then blogging, and now just recently Google + (although it is new enough to me that I have absolutely no friends and all I have done was build on my profile). I have been considering jumping on the twitter wagon but am not sure I really need to add another one to the list.
    As for technology, I really only have a cell phone, (not a fancy one, no smartphone for me just a somewhat capable one) a lap top, and a very old desktop computer that has yet to come out of its box since moving nearly 3 years ago . We did recently acquire a Tablet though which I have found extremely enjoyable to have. My children are the biggest users of it, but I secretly enjoy the games and apps on it myself. My husband on the other hand, although liking the idea of it and just the fact that we have one, can’t use it without getting frustrated with his “fat fingers” and usually gives up using it about 10 minutes in.
    I originally boycotted the idea on e-readers. Nothing, to me, seems to compare to real printed word, the smell of a new book… or an old book, how pretty they all look on my bookshelf, and my love for pretty book marks. But after getting the tablet and downloading the Kindle app… I have to say… I do see the appeal in it!

  5. cluculzwriter says:

    Haha, husbands are just too dang cute, don’t you think? I have one who fought the ereader relationship for years. Now I’m fighting to get my Kobo away from him. Which isn’t a huge problem because he just announced the other day that he’s thinking of buying a newer version. Apparently “mine” is too archaic for him. Lah-tee-da.

  6. Jenn Hubbard says:

    I think it’s important for a writer today to be online–but just *somewhere*, not necessarily *everywhere*. Facebook and Twitter are the most popular sites right now, but popularity changes, and it depends on what you find rewarding. (Also, Twitter takes very little time, whereas I hear FB takes more.) At one time I thought I had to get on every new site that came along, but now there are way too many, and instead I would recommend focusing on a selective few that you enjoy, setting time limits on them, and not feeling pressured about it.

  7. Shari Green says:

    I resisted e-readers for quite a while, but now that I’ve got one I find I really appreciate it for certain times (like camping or traveling, and DH loves his for taking to the coffee shop).

    Twitter and Facebook are my main social media addictions — they take up more than enough time, lol. I do love the connections I have with people through social media. I’ve met friends and crit partners that way, and have a great mutual-support network!

  8. Carol says:

    I’m glad I’m not alone in thinking a limit on social media participation is okay. I like the connections I’ve made online, but as Jenn says, focusing on the sites that are most meaningful or rewarding is probably a good idea.

    When it comes to the eReader, I’m geeky enough to wish I had my own now, but I still love good old paper and ink books, too, and can patiently wait my turn to occasionally borrow my hubby’s. Maybe, like Joylene, I’ll get it when he decides to upgrade. ;)

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