Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Your hologram awaits

"I'm getting too old for this s**t," I muttered to the dogs recently. I'd been trying to wrestle Instagram to the ground so that I could post about an upcoming book signing. My millennial daughter had snatched the phone from my hand and flipped through my Instagram account with horror. Where are your stories? she asked. You have no hashtags. With this post you should include #barbarafradkin, #inspectorgreen ("Look, Inspector Green has his own hashtag already!"), and #Torontobooklaunch. People will find you with those hashtags.

She unearthed details from my Instagram presence that I didn't even know existed. There were likes and messages and reposts that I'd been blissfully ignorant of. Who knew what all those little icons meant? Facebook is all very well, my daughter said, but that only works for people who are already your friends. Instagram is where new readers discover you, where you build your audience. She started in on TikTok, but I drew the line. Because she'd set it up, I've had an Instagram account for a couple of years and Twitter even longer, but I could never see much point in either. There obviously is a point, but it feels like navigating a brazen new cityscape with speeding traffic, flashing lights, indecipherable signs, one-way streets, and a pace so hectic that I just feel like parking the car and walking. 

Perhaps that's when I decided I was getting too old for this s... Or it may have been a couple of weeks earlier, when I had a birthday after which my last quarter-century looms around the corner. I thought I'd been keeping up pretty well. After all, I had lots of friends on Facebook, I HAD a Twitter and Instagram account, although I had no idea what the use was. Sometimes I'd get a notification that so-and-so whom I'd never heard of was now following me, and my gut reaction was "Why? I'm not going anywhere." I had set up and successfully pulled off two virtual book launches using Eventbrite and Zoom Webinar. 

Not bad for someone who grew up with rotary phones and radio plays! I got this! 

But then Mark Zuckerberg's smiling face came on my TV last week to promote his brand new reimagining of social media. So long Facebook, say hello to the future: the Metaverse. With dizzying speed he talked us through the holograms, the virtual, holographic workplaces that you navigate wearing special googles, teleporting. The possibilities for human interaction are endless. What, real people? Oh, no need.

It did cross my mind as I watched "I wonder what plans he has for sex."

I suspect that as all these tech changes accelerate, there will be a whole generation of us left in the dust. You may find us weeping in fury over our three TV remotes, or possibly walking arm in arm down a country lane somewhere, talking about the good old days. Or something.


Tanya said...

Barbara, thank you so much for expressing the frustration that I feel almost daily. I'm a freelance development editor (day job), mainly focused on higher education and medical education, and navigating this new world in which many products I work on are digital is quite the challenge. Not only learning how the ultimate online product is supposed to function, but also having to learn to work in new, and often bizarre and ineffective, online platforms that are largely unsuited to a writing, editing, and review process. Another "fun" factor is that the content development process is often driven by tech people who know nothing (and care less) about quality or the simplest and most logical way to get something done. They're so enamored with all their "advances" that they seem blind to simple logic and completely lacking in common sense (which I now call "rare sense"). Hang in there!

Sybil Johnson said...

I like technology. I have degrees in Computer Science. I still maintain that technology is a tool. It shouldn't be the be all and end all. I feel sometimes that tech has taken over our lives. I'm not on Instagram. I stick with Facebook and Twitter. That's all I can deal with on a daily basis.

Tanya said...

Sybil, I very much respect your ability to understand and work with the tech side of things. I know all tech people aren't evil!

But as you say, it often feels like technology is seen as some kind of be-all, end-all of its own, not as a tool that allows humans to accomplish various tasks. Perfect example, pretty much every software upgrade I've installed on my computers over the years ends up making some tasks more complicated and involve more time and more steps than a prior version. Microsoft is particularly guilty of that. Or they move things around on a dashboard or screen layout (seemingly for no good reason) and it takes days to figure out where they are so you can get back to normal working speed.

Sybil Johnson said...

I do hate when things are moved around in programs. That's also true about merchandise in stores. Drives me batty.