Sack Up, Ladies! It's 2013. You should be online.
And when I say “ladies,” I mean all of you 39+ year olds, men and women, who think they’re cool when they declare “I don’t do Facebook or Linked In or Twitter or anything on the internet that I don’t really understand because you don’t know who’s looking at your picture and you can’t trust people on the internet because who knows what they’re doing with that information, like stealing your identity or worse, really weird stuff in that bathroom with your Disneyland family pic. Blah, blah, blah.”
Enough is enough. Polish off that reserve Malbec, let down your $35 pro-blown tousled hair, turn off Journey’s Greatest Hits and sign up for a Facebook account already. No one uses the telephone anymore. The world has gone social. Online, baby. Just accept it and move on.
Look, seven months ago, I was like you. I was sitting pretty on my tennis-skirted ass, breezing past the 7th box of “Cut the Rope,” pontificating to the crowd of nodding parents that “you just wait and see, those young kids will regret sharing that information when they try to get a job.” I was tech-forward enough to think that my indignation towards social media was fair-and-balanced. Oh, fool that I was. I’m here to tell you that Facebook ain’t going anywhere. And if you’re not careful, you’re going to be the old lady sitting alone on the sofa, clutching her purse against her chest ’cause she can’t trust the waiters not to steal it.
Yes, the world has changed. No, the world ain’t changing back. Facebook, Linked In, Google Plus, Chatter, Pandora, Flickr, Metacafe, Diigo, blogs… they’re like the Star Wars movies. Ask yourself what you think of the dinner party guest who says, “What? Huh? I don’t get it” when another party guest holds two dinner buns upside her head and says, “It’s okay. I made out with my brother once, too” after the hostess’ husband drunkenly admitted to making out with his wife’s sister. You’re the lame one. Not the lady holding bread against her head.
Or if this makes it easier, just think of yourself as Madonna at the Superbowl. She’s working hard to stay relevant and up-to-speed with the fast-moving world around her. Imagine how much (more) you would have trashed her if she came out wearing black lace gloves and leather pants? Oops. Bad example. You get my drift. Even Madonna is pushing her surgeon… I mean herself… to stay on top of pop culture. The least you can do is sign up to subscribe to a blog (and it doesn’t even have to be my blog. I’m just saying.)
You understand that you’re going to have to eat crow soon enough, right? Your “I’m a traditionalist” stance makes you sound like an idiot. Swallow your pride, shrug off the “only-twits-tweat” insults you made earlier this morning and send your Mom a text email that says “FWIW, 2nite im changin my life 4EVA. ggg. BRN & LYLAS” (translation: “For What It’s Worth, tonight I’m changing my life forever. Giggling. Bye for now and love you like a sister.”) Did you ever think you’d say “just google it” to your kids when they ask you “Dad, when was Lincoln born?” The tech revolution came. It went. And it won. Hulu is a real television station.
While you’re trying to figure out how to be relevant, I have a few more suggestions on how to prevent your kids from saying, “Seriously, Mom?” when you hold out index cards and a Sharpie to practice their vocabulary words:
1.) Stop being cheap and buy some new music to your ipod. $1.29 doesn’t even get you a good drip coffee anymore. Suck it up and download three new songs once a week. Do what I do and surf Itunes Top 100 and force yourself to buy the top 10 songs, then force yourself to listen to them until your ears bleed a little. Fun. Oh no, I meant “Fun.” as if he (or them) is (or are) the top artist today with his/their/her song “We are Young.” Sometimes, you stumble upon some good stuff to either drink wine with (Adele, Mumford & Sons) or pretend to work out with (Rihanna, Nicki Minja). Unfortunately, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift don’t really count anymore. If your kids can sing along to the song, it’s too late. It’s kinda yesterday.
2.) Pick a blog, any blog. Overall, blogs offers better quality of material than reality t.v., by a long-shot. Some of the writers out there are… weirdly talented, quietly hysterical and just down-right prolific. It’s just a matter of time before they abandon their blog to work as a staff writer for Jon Stewart or worse yet, go underground for 2 years to work off their advance for their first novel. Get them while they’re free – and uncensored. The ones that aren’t laden down with awards (yeah, you read it right… there are awards in the blogosphere) are usually the most witty (Personally, I think validation corrupts the creative process. You want to find a needy blogger who’s working hard to please instead of someone who’s massaging their ‘tag’ list.) And beyond the content (which is copious, to say the least), reading blogs bring out the humanity in all of us. You’d be surprised how you can genuinely befriend strangers online and grow to really care about their life. Virtual friendships are real and they’re good. There. I said it. And now, I defend it. I mean, how is it weirder than sending your annual Christmas card to that couple you met on that Costa Rican zip-lining trip three years ago? Sure, there are creeps in the world. I’m teaching my kids to look out for them at the park, even as I type this post. But that doesn’t mean I refuse to let them go to the park, does it? Hell, someone just stole mail out of our mailbox in front of our house. People steal things (virtual or cemented to the curb). People are weird. People do unthinkable things with others’ photos. You have to be smart about what you share (DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT post those photos that you think show you looking all sexy and hot for being 39 ’cause… you’re just looking slutty and 39 and you’re going to lose a bit of credibility with everyone in the morning). But don’t blame the internet. That shit been going on since the beginning of time.
3.) Upgrade to Prime, buy your shoes from Zappos and stream movies from Netflix to your plasma screen.*
*If you don’t understand any of this sentence, I’m afraid you’re farther off the reservation that I thought… and even I can’t help you. All I can say is good luck and strap on your walker ’cause the world is gonna blow right past you.
Engage. Download. And stop being social media wusses.