Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"I'm Not Very Tech Savvy"

Yesterday, I wrote this post, a review of Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers.  By afternoon, a woman at Macmillan had written to me to ask if I wanted to add an audio file to my review.  I said I'd try but that I wasn't very tech savvy.

Why would I say that?  I'm much more tech savvy than most people.

The woman at Macmillan sent me a link to embed, which I did on the first try, and voila!  Again, I thought, I am too tech savvy.

It reminds me of when Nic Sebastian launched her whale sound site, and I said to myself, "Well, I'm not really web-active."

Only when I read her definition did I realize that yes, I am a web-active poet.  I don't hesitate to publish in online sites, I have two blog sites and a website, I'm on Facebook, I have posted videos . . .  what more would I require of myself?

Well, I don't use Twitter and I don't have a smart phone.  Even without a smart phone, I spend most of my day connected to the Internet in all kinds of ways.

When I said I wasn't tech savvy yesterday, I meant that I can no longer program a computer.  Once, back in 1978, I was part of a group of 7th graders who learned to program in Basic (a very old computer language, for you young folks out there who don't know).  I was the first one to write a program that worked that had the computer play Hangman.

I now only grasp the most basic aspects of coding.  However, I know I could learn to code if I wanted.  It would probably be simpler than many of the languages I'd like to learn.

Once I had friends who not only programmed their computers, but built them.  I remember a college friend who took his computer apart and soldered bits to his motherboard so that it would behave the way he wanted.  I was never that brave.

I have to stop saying that I'm not tech savvy.  When I say that to strangers, they probably think of me as one of those cranky people who refuses to use e-mail and would never buy anything online.  I am not that person.

I know that there are people out there (like a lot of the people I met/heard at the AWP conference last year) who would scold me for helping the Macmillan woman by putting a link to the audiobook in my post.  They'd have wanted me to ask for reimbursement.  And if I had a million people visiting my blogsite, maybe I'd feel more justified in doing that.

I did have a fantasy after my post yesterday on this blog that Arianna Huffington might contact me and say, "If you're so unhappy with our poetry reviews, I'll pay you $1000 a post to write about poets working today whom we should know."  Yes, $1000 a post--she gets enough web traffic--she can afford that.  It's a sweet fantasy, isn't it?

In the meantime, though, I'm happy to tell people about books that I've liked.  I'm happy to help promote the work of authors big or small, if they've written something wonderful.  I'm happy to be part of a conversation about books and ideas.  It's the literary life I've always wanted, although not exactly in the shape that grad school trained me to expect.

When I was in grad school, you really did need computer skills above the norm to use the Internet.  Now, how the world has changed!  I'd argue it's for the better.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

I'm not very tech savvy, either, but, like you, realize I can do more than I thought I could. (But you can do way more than I can!) Also, I admire your generosity re:audio book link! And I'd like to read that book.