Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Elderly and the World Wide Web

My First Flower Power Mac  Janette Miller 

The past few days have made me aware once again just how lucky I am to be alive and able to enjoy the World Wide Web. Although I had to be dragged kicking and screaming by my daughter to give her computer houseroom while she took off to live in Italy. I spent the first six weeks trying to get the security application to work, four days attempting to print an envelope, and hours attempting to 'defrag' but when she came back I cried as she removed her computer. I had to have one.

I felt the first pangs of  computer withdrawal symptoms and now nine years later I am so grateful for all the riches it has given me. For my computer saved my life. It helped me to get through Clostridium Dificile by the aid of the wonderful  forums and the magnificent people who man them who get people they don't know through the horrors of Benzodiazepan withdrawal at 3 am in the morning. Many more would die without their help.

Then there is the wonderful Lynda.com which has taught me how to get the best out of my computer. The things I can do are truly mind boggling. I started from nothing but my computer skills have given me a new life. I can do the things I wanted to do in my youth and I have.  I have a SOArt web site I can manage, a commercially successful DVD series on Amazon, a CD on iTunes (not commercial!) a YouTube Channel, one mega YouTube - views over 100,000 and the chance to bore all my friends with my version of Wagner's Lohengrin and 'The Importance of Being Earnest' with me playing all the parts male and female. What more can a girl ask ?

Most importantly it has bought my past to life again from nowhere. That which I thought was lost forever has been miraculously restored to me just because of the internet. The TV Opera 'TheTurn of the Screw' and now my gorgeous Indian Room with its happy Hindu Gods  are mine again solely because I have not hidden myself away like so many of my peers do. People I do not know can and do get in touch with me.

I have always been a public person, if you make a career in the arts you have to be but I find this 'public persona'  puts the fear of God into my mature friends. Facebook scares them stiff! It is not as though they lead the most interesting lives. I mean what have they to hide? What are they afraid of?

Most of my peers cannot use the internet. They may just be able to manage an email but that is about it. Google, Wikipedia and YouTube seem to be written in Martian and what makes me so amused is that they are proud of it.  'I don't need a computer' I am accosted with when I try to point out what a wonderful tool it is for the elderly. They are proud of their ignorance. The frustrating part is that they won't even look. 'Oh I don't have the time to bother with that!'

Most are obsessively concerned about their privacy and guard their personal details as if the whole world was out to get them. I mean one should take sensible precautions.  I never use my actual birthdate which means I get two birthdays a year which confuses my Facebook Friends but will stop anyone using my personal details for fraud if they come across them by accident but who is going to bother. I might be unlucky but as my face is well known on line I am probably safer than they. Nobody knows what 'they' look like and it is easier to pinch their personality.

 Five minutes  and  a small monetary outlay and one can find anyone. It is hard to get noticed. Few strangers will ever read this blog and I am quite interesting! The local croquet club hated having a web site. One might get spotted in a photo. Every time they go to the supermarket their image is captured. Every time they use their credit card they are logged.

My peers are throwing away the most wonderful opportunity to start a new life. The computer has given me the chance to do everything that I wanted to do when I was eighteen and never dreamed that I could. This year I shall sing 'September' by Richard Strauss with a full symphony  orchestra, I shall publish myself my first novel based on a famous composer (Guess who!) and I shall continue to annoy the whole world on my blog. I have become a firm disciplinarian in my old age and I won't put up with patronizing comments anymore. I answer back, nicely, of course.

Also people are nicer to each other on line. I think I am more myself on line too. I should never talk like this to my friends as they would find it OTT but by reading about me they get to know the real me and that can only be for the good.

So come on 'wrinklies' get your fingers clicking away. Start a blog so that I can learn all about you too.

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