GUEST POST #25: “How and When did you Adapt to the Computer Revolution?” by Vicki HardenFebruary 19, 2011
Note from Will – I thought that this guest post was a fitting subject for out Sunday Meditation segment because it basically asks you to reflect upon the great movement of our day – the computer revolution. What’s fascinating about this subject is that everyone’s response to this new reality is to a large part dependent upon one’s age. It’s a fascinating subject for librarianship from a standpoint of both staff and patrons. You can read my response on comment #1. Enjoy.
After Monday’s post with Will’s response to Andy Woodworth’s blog on the Case for Retirement, I feel I have to write this. I read Will’s blog (The War Between the Library Generations Has Started) and Andy’s original blog. Then I read Joe’s comment about the history of the Internet.
What now interests me is our history of adapting to technology. Andy mentioned people who started in the field in the 1980’s. Joe told us the Internet was still in its infancy in the early 90’s. I recently read a statistic somewhere that there are more people on Facebook now than there were on the whole Internet in 2000. The Unwinders are an active online group of people, so may be above the norm, but I don’t think so for our education levels.
By 1986 I was using Word (we were a MS Word company, not a WordPerfect company) and Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets. In 1993 or early 1994 I joined my first Internet provider (I forget what we called them then) and joined a few groups as well as played games and watched the Star Trek news. This was still a DOS based system. I had the maximum membership, which allowed up the three hours a day on the service. By 1997 I was in and out of different groups and live chats. By 1999 I was a part time moderator for a large discussion site that covered science fiction, history, books, movies, and other topics. I was playing online Scrabble with my family.
My girls started getting computer classes by first grade, although while they were younger they only had one afternoon a week. They learned as much at home as they did at school at that time. By the time my younger one was in college in 2005, students were living on their laptops. Most homes of our socioeconomic group had at least one computer in them, if not more. That was a huge leap from ten years earlier.
Now I have a Facebook account, a Twitter account, a Reader account to follow my different blogs and sites, a blog, a web page (the oldest of this group), a Diigo account, etc. No, I’m not up on all the latest technology, but I’m not far behind. I can serve my patrons quite well, both the older, less techno savvy ones, and the younger ones who are working on their Ipads.
I’m obviously not the person Andy had in mind when he suggested retirement. Still, how many of us who started in the 1980’s are behind on technology? Probably not as many as he implies. While we may not be on the bleeding edge of technology, we’re active. No, I didn’t grow up with the Internet and easy computer access. My daughters didn’t have easy access until they were in middle school.
When did you join the computer age and/or online community? For the older members, was it because you were forced to because of your job, or was the natural interest there? For the younger members, was it due to school or your home environment? How do we plan to keep adapting to the changes in technology?