"I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes that all the doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false." -- Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tom's TED Talk

     Last night I opened a twitter account. So first of all, my apologies to any of you who might have received an unwanted, unsolicited e-mail invitation to join my twitter feed.

     Honestly, I'm not at all sure I'm going to do twitter. Over the past year or two I've read maybe two hundred tweets. And I've never seen one -- not one -- that was worth the few seconds of time it took to read it.

     But last night I was reading an article on the New York Times website, and I clicked on the author's name, and it brought me to her twitter page, and up popped an invitation for me to join twitter. It just looked so easy. Why not?

     Well, nothing's as easy as they make it seem. But I powered through the questions, filled out the forms, opened an account, @TomatSightings, and even posted my first tweet. And I may or may not have sent out a mass invitation to everyone on my gmail list.

     But I don't know. Does anyone our age tweet away on twitter? Or it is just for tweens and pop stars trying to build their tween audience? I think the tweetiest tweeters are Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry. And I don't want anything to do with any of them.

     As an aside, and on a more serious note, here's the link to a twitter page for 9/11 -- today is the 13th anniversary.

     So honestly, I don't know if I'll become a real tweeter. But I'm pretty sure I will not be buying a new apple watch. I haven't worn a watch since I stopped going to an office 12 years ago. I don't punch a time clock anymore. I don't need to run on anyone else's timetable. And besides, it's hard not to know what time it is at any moment of the day. The time is registered in the lower right-hand corner of my computer. It's on my cellphone. There's a clock in my car and one on the TV. And another in my kitchen, and in the bedroom, and pretty much in every other room in the house.

     But the main reason I won't get an i-watch is that I couldn't possibly see it. The numbers would be way too small for my aging eyes. Also, my fingers are probably too fat to hit the tiny numbers on a watch -- I can barely manage to manipulate the text message feature on my phone.

     And there's another thing to consider. A lot of older people shake a little bit, for one reason or another. How's that going to work when you try to call up an app on your watch? I don't shake. But I will admit that my hand-eye coordination is not what it used to be. I would have neither the fine motor skills, nor the patience, to work a smart watch.

     I doubt I'll be doing any mobile bill paying either. I don't understand what the big deal is about that. So you can pay your bills while you're driving down the street, or having dinner with friends at a restaurant.

     I don't know about you, but my bills can wait until I get home, and I take a few minutes at my own convenience to sit down and pay my bills.

     But just so you know, I'm no Luddite. I think one of the greatest -- and most unheralded -- advances in modern civilization is the ability to pay your bills online. No more writing checks, no more addressing and licking envelopes. No more stamps -- and at 49 cents a pop, that's not a small thing anymore.

     I also like ATM machines. No more bank lines; and again, no more writing checks. Now I know ATMs are not exactly new -- the first ATM machine was installed in America in 1969, and they came into common use through the 1980s -- but they are yet another convenience of our modern world. In fact, a lot of people hate their banks. I don't exactly love my bank (I've paid off my mortgage so I don't have to worry about that; but I wish I could get a bank CD that paid 5%, like my parents could; it would make my financial life a lot easier and more secure); but I've got to at least give credit to banks for producing (along with one financial disaster) a lot of financial progress.

     Also, I couldn't do my work, couldn't make whatever modest income I make, without a personal computer and Microsoft Word and e-mail and google and amazon -- and I listen to music on youtube, Spotify, Pandora and SiriusXM radio.

     So, yeah, technology has made our lives a lot more comfortable and convenient . . . and productive. But you can't do anything if the devices are too small, if you can't read the print or tap the right keys. I wonder if, technologically speaking, we're reaching the law of diminishing returns -- that despite Moore's Law which says processing power for computers doubles every two years, we're just running faster to stay in the same place.


DJan said...

I wear a watch these days, and I often use it in the middle of the night to illuminate the time. I've tried getting rid of it, now that I'm not working, but I really miss glancing at my wrist and seeing the time, rather than pulling out my phone. I ride the bus often and need to know the exact time.

I don't use twitter and don't think I ever would. Although I'm nearsighted and could easily see the iWatch, no way do I need it! I'm over connected as it is. :-)

Denise said...

Tom, I thought Twitter for not for me but I opened an account and it's mostly my news feed. Local weather reporters, the local news channels (2 of them, this can get cumbersome!)the Cincinnati Reds, my SON, Jimmy Fallon and a couple of other people. It reads more like a news feed--excepting my son--who connects with other football coaches with it--than Facebook, and like anything, it is what you make it.

Meryl Baer said...

I have a twitter account but don't get it. I think it is a waste of time…Have a really nice watch but rarely wear it…I am still learning to use my smartphone. It is hard keeping up with the latest tech gadgets. I am definitely tech-challenged.

Tabor said...

Waiting for the technology folks to realize they are missing the boomers market big time. I have a twitter account, but it is never used. Boring.

Anonymous said...

I use my Twitter account for news, local events, RV news, social events & calender. I love it! Keeps me informed, helps me plan my time, plus I retweet articles that interest me AND if I need to speak directly to anyone (celebs included) you can reach them via their twitter account.
Get real Tom!
You can reach me @thriftyat60

stephen Hayes said...

Someone explained it to me this way:

Blog if you have something to say once or twice a week.

Post on Facebook is you have something to say every day.

Tweet if you have something to say several times a day.

Frankly, I don't have something to say everyday.

Anonymous said...

I used to tweet when I had a smart phone, but don't anymore. I don't miss it. I wear a wrist watch every time I go somewhere.

Retired Syd said...

I use Twitter mostly to pass along interesting retirement articles that I don't want to write a whole blog post about. Like for example the Kiplinger's article you and I were quoted in!

But that Apple Watch, I watched the video-- I don't often fall for electronics. But this one--I. Must. Have. (I have the kind of contact lenses that allow me to see tiny things, so there's that.)

Olga said...

I agree with you about the small thing. I have trouble with my phone sending text messages. Or maybe I just can't spell anymore. That's a possibility too. Not wearing a watch is one of my favorite parts of retirement living.

Anonymous said...

Funny you should write this post today. I have been trying to ditch Twitter for some time. Also, an old friend sent me a message on Link din. My son tried to connect me on that system and I told them NO...however, I still get the odd request to connect with someone. You can probably sense my frustration. It seems that once you connect with one social media, they all want you to connect. What a bore.

Good luck to you with Twitter, should you choose to accept this mission...

b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

I have been on twitter for years and had begun to think it was all just a passing phase. Then my son and his wife began using it to communicate with parents of their students instantly. Maybe everything that is old can be new again...or at least reinvented.

As for myself, I don't use it much unless I post blog posts. One group I belong to is beginning to see it as a way to communicate...and here I was just getting used

Douglas said...

If tweets come from Twitter then are Tweeters Twits? BTW, I have never habitually worn a watch. I tried a few times but found myself arriving so early that it was ridiculous and quit. I somehow made it through the Navy and 34 years with the phone company without a reminder on my wrist,

Gabbygeezer said...

Hang on until inflation rages once again and you will see the return of 5 percent CDs. Twitter? Forgetaboutit. (That's 13 characters, I believe, unless the period counts.

June said...

Not interested in Twitter. I truly do not need to know every thought that passes through anyone's head (including my own) and out his or her fingers.

Laura Lee Carter said...

I agree Tom! Great Ted Talk! And speaking of music on YouTube,please go check out my brother's positive new song there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvCcuxR6LWA