This boomer’s thinking “OMG, I’ve got to learn new stuff”

Unless it’s a business that delivers groceries or movies or disinfectant wipes into your life, we think it’s fair to say that a pandemic is not a good time to start a new enterprise. To the contrary, as author Barbara Greenleaf writes from Santa Barbara, California, you’ve got to steel yourself for a whole new set of tasks… especially if you’re launching a new book.

I’m having quite a challenge launching my new book, Parents of Adult Children: You are Not Alone, during the pandemic. With no bookstores, club meetings, or face-to-face interactions of any kind to help me get out the word, it’s all-technology/all the time. For me this is not good news.

You see, I was born technologically challenged. Okay, I already knew that a platform was not just a springboard for diving and Instagram was not a trademark for Western Union, but beyond that I had little notion of and no curiosity about the inner workings of the virtual world.

Barbara Greenleaf

How challenged am I? Well, I can neither turn on the TV (which, in my defense, has so many gizmos you’d need a PhD to operate it) nor have a phone conversation in which I don’t disconnect the person on the other end when the “call waiting” buzzer sounds.

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 light blue “While you were out” memo slips. The university put me through an intensive orientation called “onboarding” (which for some reason I kept calling “water boarding”) to familiarize me with the school’s supporter-tracking system. I was supposed to rank even the tiniest encounter via an elaborate numbering and coding system.

Not only did I consider this a colossal waste of my time— I mean, there was a reason God gave us the Rolodex and 4 x 6 cards. I was sure I that with one stroke of the keys, I would send a million dollars’ worth of software crashing through to outer space. When the university finally realized I was a hopeless case, they threw in the towel and gave me an assistant to do my inputting for me.

Fast forward to 2020 and the launch for my new book, Parents of Adult Children: You Are Not Alone. In the age of COVID, if I want to ensure the publicity I need, I’ve had to learn how to make short videos. I’ve had to join 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!

The social media beast demands constant feeding in the form of posts, links, likes, tags, and follows. Indeed, some days my fingers seem to be locked in the thumbs-up position. I’ve also had to learn a new vocabulary in which “Zoom” no longer means going fast and “webinar” is not something out of Ducks Unlimited.

For the record, I am not now nor will I ever be “trending.” But, hey, at least I’m in the game.

1 Comment

  1. Very humorous. I can relate to this. To take a course at a college in the fall, I have to learn how to use Zoom.

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