It’s all relative, but I’m feeling defeated by 140 characters

Several years ago I wrote a series of columns about my own personal theory of relativity. It involved perspective, really, as I shared stories of sitting at the World Junior Hockey Games with Olympic Aerialist Horst Bulau and feeling humbled by his extensive knowledge of hockey.

I felt equally humbled by my 2 year old Kid One after I hauled him into the bath-tub because he asked for a bar of soap… which he wanted to slick down a drawer, not to take a bath.

And later, when 8 year old Kid Two gently connected her eyes with mine over an impossibly busy after-school calendar and asked “are these my slow years?”

It’s all relative, and it continues to be relative.

Some of you will identify with this column; others will not get any farther than the next paragraph.

It’s about technology. I think it’s important for all of us to recognize that as new technology comes into our lives, it gets embraced in different ways. For the young who have never known a day of their lives without computers, internet, email, cell phones… they have an intuitiveness about what technology ‘should’ do without ever having to open a manual. They don’t give you manuals anymore… you have to ‘google’ it.

Those of us who remember life before internet (yes!) remember opening a phone book or a dictionary or calling 411 and getting a real person, or making a phone call and getting one of two things: a person answering or no answer at all, some of us aren’t so intuitive about technology.

So, I think it’s harder for those of us with greater perspective, greater scope (if you will) to embrace the eternally new technology that usurps the last new gadget that was supposed to save us time. [I’d like to point out here that not one of these devices has saved us time; I have less time now than I did as a very busy parent in 1982].

I feel like I’ve reached the level where my stomach and my brain are full. I’m pretty comfortable with using my computer as a tool. I think I’m pretty good at dealing with email, though younger people say they never use email; it’s obsolete! I’ve had a website for 15 years. I’ve learned how to send and receive text messages and emails on my i phone. I can enter contacts information, add their pictures and assign them a ring tone. I can put my grandchildren’s photos on my i phone (which is its real value!) and I’ve even introduced other i phone users to apps they didn’t know about.

So on the scale of 0 (it’s just a fad and I’m not learning any of it) to 10 (I’m hot stuff), I’m probably hovering around the 6 mark.

But I’m full, I think. I don’t know how to blog. I know a tweet has 140 characters so you have to write tightly to make a point. No idea where to make the point, or how. Someone say these columns are a blog. Well, they weren’t when I started writing them 11 years ago… they were columns!

The question is… can I learn more? Can I learn why a blog matters, really? Can I adapt to young users who prefer to communicate by tweeting instead of picking up the phone? Can I figure out how to find that site on my computer or my cell phone? With failing eyesight, the tiny cell phone screen doesn’t help either. Do I want to?

We reach a point in our lives when the ‘shoulds’ outnumber the ‘want-to’s.’ I should learn how to do this. I should add components that make my website universal for all kinds of users. I should, I should, I should.

I’m going to give it a try. I’m going to be coached into 2010 by my quarter-century old tweet and blog master, Josh Muirhead. Snowboarder par excellence, Josh also earns his living in social media and networking. So he’s promised to take me by the hand and nudge me to the next level.

I guess what would be really useful is if I could free up a few gigabytes in my hard drive (brain). I need to lay down on someone’s tech bench and drag unneeded information to the trash. That might make a difference.

Tweeting? Blogging? I’ll keep you posted!

It’ll be an uphill battle for Josh, but he’s an optimist… thanks, Josh.