Technophobe in action

Launching a Book During a Pandemic Is No Walk in the Park

by Barbara Greenleaf, Age 78

With all the other barriers to drawing attention to a new title—the million other books on Amazon, general information overload, and the November elections, to name just three—I am now contending with stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19. With no bookstores, club meetings, or face-to-face interactions of any kind to help me get out the word about my latest effort, Parents of Adult Children: You Are Not Alone, I have to rely completely on technology. The is the kiss of death for a technophobe such as I. 

Technophobes are born, not made, and I am one of those who was born technologically challenged.How challenged am I? Well, I have to summon my husband to turn on the TV because I can never figure out which gizmo brings in cable, which one turns on Pandora, and which one probably could blow up a battleship. 

​As another case in point, several years ago I took a full-time job at a local university. I felt like a modern-day Rip Van Winkle who had gone to sleep in the age of the Selectric typewriter and pink “While you were out” slips and woke up to a world full of sophisticated software. The university put me through an intensive orientation to familiarize me with the school’s donor-tracking system, which consisted of an elaborate set of numbers and codes.  I botched it every time. The university finally threw in the towel and gave me an assistant to do my inputting for me.

​How I wish I had that assistant now! I’ve read Facebook for DummiesFacebook and Twitter for Seniors for Dummies, and Social Media Marketing for Dummies. My college degree and seven other books notwithstanding, I am still a dummy. Yet I soldier on. To debut Parents of Adult Children in the age of COVID-19, I’m learning how to make shortvideos on my computer (while trying hard to ignore the fact that the camera is not kind to people of a certain age). I’m gingerly feeling my way around LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For five minutes I thought I’d have to create content for TikTok and K-Pop, too, but then I saw that their audience was only 12 years old. Whew!  I’m also learning that the social media beast demands constant feeding in the form of posts, links, likes, tags, and follows. Indeed, some days my fingers seem to belocked in the thumbs’ up position. For the record, I am not now nor ever will be “trending,” but, hey, at least I’m in the game.

Am I fit to live in the virtual world? Tune into my free, one-hour book launch party on Thursday, August 6th, at 11 am Pacific, 2 pm Eastern time, and let me know. You’ll be joined by a cast of thousands–in the control booth to avert one of my disasters. Or is that in the cloud? Register here:

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7 Responses to Technophobe in action

  1. mary hirsch says:

    Dear Barbara,
    Congratulations & hearty Felicitations on your latest accomplishment: your book! And for challenging yourself with technology; it is fun, isn’t it? If nothing else, to “stay in the game,” as you said. And, to make a personal choice to stay “relevant!”

    At 75 next month, I’m a retired PR/media relations specialist (40 years!) – with the prerequisite marketing, advertising, fund raising, event planning and community outreach that came with my profession (plus 2 beepers/cell phones ON 24/7, 365), so I’m “peopled out!” I am incredibly discerning…

    I crave solitude, quiet and, besides my own company of which I never tire, the company of any of my “10 personalities,” my myriad books – and yes, my PC. And my Yoga, Tai Chi, crack-of-dawn long jogs along the Charles river followed by hours of meditation and in-home gym workouts since my health club is not safe. That is the ONLY thing I miss, for it is my TEMPLE! My body has always CRAVED exercise even more than food; running 8 marathons was the sweetest, longest prayer ever… it is life-transforming, in the best way possible.

    Covid has added a new dimension to our lives and trying us to the very core of our existence. We are experiencing the BEST and the WORST in human nature – and I choose to think that the former reigns supreme – beginning with our healthcare workers and all folks at the front. These are very, very tough times for everyone…

    Technology has given us an opportunity to expand our horizons and, with a click or two, bring the world into our homes – if we choose to. While familiar with all the social media outlets and their capabilities, I applaud our choices and, personally, carefully choose what and when, like Zoom when I’m in the mood. A writer, nothing beats a long e-mail or old-fashioned letter or card. And reading… Sweet Lord, what can possibly replace War and Peace in the summer? Or working on my own books?

    “To each his own”, said the old lady as she leaned over and kissed the cow… “To each his own!”

    Stay positive; stay healthy, exercise always, eat healthfully and HONOR your greatest gift – your body! And, count your blessings. You, ladies, are certainly one of mine. Above all, stay safe and stay sane. PLEASE wear a mask!

  2. Amy Bryant says:

    Technology has been my savior during the pandemic. As an 80 year-old living alone, Facebook, emails, Zoom, Skype, Face time and texting have kept me connected with loving family and friends. This did not come naturally to me, but through the patience of my children and grands, I’ve learned incrementally as the need arises. Aiming at getting myself ready to flow successfully into the post-covid world that will come eventually.

  3. Evelyn Eskin says:

    Hang in there , Barbara! We are all struggling. Congratulations on your book!

  4. Patricia F says:

    Thank you so much for your comments on being a technophobe. It was so much fun to read and I think if you flesh it out you could have a best seller. Interview other technophobes like me. I have worked with technology since the origin of the Fax machine. I get it I use it to whomever uses it but I don’t understand how it gets from one place to the other. I just push buttons, my IPhone 6+ has a myriad of things to use . I use what I want and not worry until I have to. Yes I am still working and younger, much younger people in my field can’t understand I could make a living, but I do. So I think you are great. Thanks for putting a smile on my 73 year old face, no FaceTime for me thank though!

  5. Karen Gardner says:

    I am an ~80 year old retired computer scientist who has given up trying to keep up with technology. I am perhaps more conversant than many regarding certain areas where I continue to have interests (e.g., big data). However, my ability to navigate such areas as music, facebook niceties and other social media is abysmal, and I also have a distaste for social media since it has been so misused. So I cheerfully send emails but avoid most social media. And am content!

  6. Jeanne Gagne says:

    So far I am not having trouble getting your emails. All I have is a kindle fire.

  7. Celia B says:

    Now age 73, I began my career at AT&T in 1962 at age 16. While I do not “get” TicToc or SnapChat, I am at ease with most technology. Grateful to have worked at a company where technology was at the forefront. FaceTime, Zoom and Google Meet have helped during Covid. But my weekly “hen” party at a friend’s driveway here on the coast (with ocean breezes, lots of shade and social distancing) is still the best.

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