How did you explain new media to your folks?

Filed as Editorial on February 22, 2009 12:19 am

Before he retired, my father was a banker for more than ten years. But he devoted a lot of his spare time writing for a national broadsheet and a few magazines (he still continues to do so online). When he finally joined Facebook two weeks ago, it became easier to explain my work in this “new media” industry.

I guess I’m lucky. I don’t find the need to submit cringing stories to My Parents Joined Facebook — not that I have anything to hide from my dad, but I’m glad that he gets it, as a former journalist who found the need to catch up with the times. There aren’t too many people in their 60’s who bend over that way. For him, converting his column to an online medium allowed him the luxury of not having to go through an editor — he found the idea of not having a deadline attractive, and being able to get instant feedback almost immediately more enthralling. To him, it isn’t about “print being dead” — it’s about forcing the traditional industry to learn new tricks. You can only be senile up to some point.

How did you explain blogs, YouTube, Twitter and all that to your folks? More importantly, have they taken the plunge as well? Believe it or not, the main reason why my father joined Facebook was PEER PRESSURE from his old friends from high school and college who are now happily retired in their 60’s, and perhaps have nothing better to do than play Pet Society.

Happy weekend, blogosphere!

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  1. By Chung Bey Luen posted on February 22, 2009 at 5:07 am
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    My father don’t join facebook but at least he is using MSN Messenger to communicate with his children around the world.


  2. By Vic Torey-Paughn posted on February 22, 2009 at 5:23 am
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    Conversation a few years back:
    Me: “… my blog – oh wait. You know what a blog is, right?”
    My mother: “Yes, somewhere you put things online that it would have been better if you’d kept to yourself.”

    Bless her. :-D


  3. By MoJo posted on February 22, 2009 at 11:42 am
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    Weirdly, I never had to explain it to my 82-year-old father. I think being a physician faced with the constant change of technology, his being a bit of a gadget geek himself, and the fact that we have tons of family around the world with whom he’s very close to has really helped. He chats more than I do, and he discovered all on his own, which made explaining facebook incredibly easy for me when it came to it.

    Actually, I think he’s better using at social networking sites than I am. (He’d join facebook, but all that chatting/webcamming on Y!Messenger and using Multiply already takes up too much of his online time, lol.) Hmn.


  4. By Julie posted on February 22, 2009 at 5:18 pm
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    My mother runs her own small business and has been interacting with her customers via the web and email for years, but she just got herself a Twitter account (somewhat to my surprise).

    She’s still a little unsure what she should be doing with said account, so I’ve tried explaining to her that it’s not really any different than the newsletters she’s been sending to her customers, just though a different (and shorter) medium.


  5. By Stedguead posted on February 22, 2009 at 11:57 pm
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    I have had no luck at all trying to explain the Metagovernment to anyone over 60.


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