Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Age is a state of mind

At times, I feel my age (baby-boomer). The computer activity that makes me feel oldest these days is blogging. When I was in school, there were no computers smaller than Fort Knox, and they were just as valuable. I was on the cusp, born between that generation that generally avoids computers like the plague, and those who have never lived without them. I could have gone either way - when I realized how much more efficiently I could write with a computer than without one, my Virgo mentality took over and I embraced the computer age.

I have witnessed the advent of the GUI (graphical user interface, for those who are unaware there was ever anything else), the internet, the world wide web, and e-mail, embracing each as it came along. But there is something about blogging that has not caputured my enthusiasm and attention. I have been encouraged on a number of fronts to embrace blogging. One of my publishing team tried very hard to set me up with a blog, but I could never quite figure out how to use it. To my dismay, I managed to delete my own blog, I still don't know how. Helen quite clearly demonstrates our age difference by utilizing this technology in ways I didn't even know existed.

What I haven't determined is precisely WHY this particular form of computer technology leaves me so unenthusiastic. I love e-mail. I learned to program my own website (20th century though it is, as my friend Aaron told me recently), and enjoyed that process very much. Blogging reminds me quite a bit of journaling, which was a passion of mine during my tenure in the lesbian community. I suppose my biggest fear is that I will write some wonderful thought in a blog, and then let go of it, having expressed it to my satisfaction. Will I then ever put that same thought in a book, or article? Blogging seems scattered to me. Perhaps I'm showing my age again, preferring the cohesion of a book rather than blog entries randomly expressing thoughts that disperse throughout the web.

I am grateful to those of my clients who are young enough to be my children. (And in a few cases, my grandchildren, but we won't even go there!) Through them, I have come to appreciate the fluidity and freedom afforded by the concept of queer identity. But we don't talk computers; we talk identity. Perhaps if I had conversations with some younger folks about blogging, I might pick up some of that same enthusiasm, and change my thinking about how information is best disseminated. Sure, many people my age will always prefer books. Mine's available, so they'll have access to my thoughts. But there are those younger folks who may prefer to find their information through web-surfing, who may only ever access my thoughts through blogs and my website. So perhaps it's up to me to embrace the new and retain the old at the same time, copy and pasting a blog entry (or some pithy subset thereof) into a word processing file, to be refined later as an article or book chapter.


helen_boyd said...

i think of blogging more as a different form entirely: rather, not like online journaling, or writing the draft of an essay, but it's own thing. like a poem or an essay or a book chapter or a play.

& once i did that, i "got" it.

Betty said...

I'm a crap blogger. Must be the whole performance thing. But... those of you who use have the writing bug make me very happy when you blog.

I'm a crap blogger. I'm a huge blog reader.

I'm liking this group thing. Thanks for being a part of this, Reid.