A Somewhat Tech-Savvy Mom

One day, #5 strolled into the kitchen after a long day at school.  Leaning against the kitchen counter, and between mouthfuls of food to appease his growling stomach, he said, “hey mom, did you know that the Pope has Twitter?”

“So, I hear,” I replied absent- mindedly while chopping vegetables for dinner.

“Do you have Twitter, mom?”

“No. Why do I need Twitter?  Do you have Twitter?”

“Mom,” he sighed with exasperation, “everybody has Twitter.  You should get it.”

“#5,” I replied with a look that said I-am-your-mother-do-not-condescend-even-if-you-are-a-foot-taller-than-I, “I don’t need it.”

“Look, here’s the Pope’s first tweet.  I started following him today.”

The truth is, I didn’t understand it.  How to access it.  How to use it.

“It’s easy, mom,” sighed my confident high school senior.  “Where’s your phone?”  Before I knew it, I had a Twitter account.

When I was in first year university, I took a one semester course called Introduction To Computer Programming.  This was back in the day when we had to use IBM punch cards to write our programme and line up for hours in the the computer lab to use the big IBM mainframe computers.  My first assignment came back with a hand-written note from the prof:  You should consider taking a different course.  Ouch!

nurses and social media

In the early 90’s, the hospital where I worked became computerized.  Everything from lab reports, supplies, requisitions had to be accessed on-line.  I had to leave my kids with my in-laws and drive through heavy snow on my day off to learn how to use the new computerized system.  It took me all day, and a few frustrating experiences on the unit but eventually I got the hang of it.    By the time I left hospital nursing, everything was on-line: documentation, doctor’s orders, medication administration pumps, monitors, everything.  Completely digital.  I was always checking, double-checking and whispering a little prayer under my breath to make sure I pushed the right button or clicked on the correct icon.  Sometimes, I felt that using the computers and temperamental monitors  was more stressful than caring for patients and their families.  Even now in my work, I sometimes have to access medically related apps on my phone as well as the GPS.  Computer programmes  keep track of the administrative side of my business.  My oldest, journalist son set up that side of the business with that characteristic, mom-I-can’t-believe-you-don’t-get-this test of patience.  He also set up this blog.

So, when my lanky, tech-savvy son dragged me kicking and screaming deeper into cyber-space, all I could think was, “what do I do with this?”  I’m slowly getting around to playing with my Twitter account and am pleasantly surprised that I have a handful of followers.  Likewise, I follow a small number of people.  I probably won’t be someone who is constantly checking who’s tweeting what, but for now, I’ll check in every once in a while.  I can only marvel that Pope Benedict has over 2.1 million followers.

pope benedict on twitter

What I’ve learned from my cyber adventures is that perseverance, especially when born of necessity, pays off.  That even decidedly un-techy “older” moms can fumble their way through the digital age.  That the human brain has a great capacity for continuous learning.  That my kids think I’m ancient.  That my 17 year-old is an unlikely evangelist leading his mom.  That @Pontifex has embraced the new media for evangelization and so can I; so can we.

Deo Gratias

Linking this to Catholic Bloggers Network:  Monthly Link-Up Blitz

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36 Responses to A Somewhat Tech-Savvy Mom

  1. great post.. I can relate but I am still bumble blindly, i am afraid

  2. If my 75 year old mom can have not only an iPhone, but also a Facebook and a Twitter, and can facetime her grandkids (I think it’s called facetime…I don’t have an iPhone), then you can tweet. 🙂 What’s your handle?

  3. mamanne says:

    My teenage daughter thinks I should get a twitter account. I think she should get HER twitter acct. off MY phone…. lol. I can figure this stuff out; mostly I choose not to! It wastes a lot of my time, and I am pretty darn good at wasting it myself! My 81 year old mom facebooks more than I do, lol. OF course, she’s a much better delegater of time than I am 🙂

    • It’s easy to let the internet be a huge time-waster….you’re right. I force myself to not let blogging take over my life and have given myself rules that I (usually) follow re: internet use for leisure. I’m still figuring out how twitter fits in to all that.

  4. NEO says:

    Welcome, to Twitter, I guess. It has its uses but, it can sure be a waste of time as well. Oh, yeah, if anybody happens to care mine is @nebraskaenergy

    • Yeah………that “waste of time” aspect is what’s making me wary. I’ll find you on twitter but I’ll try not to waste yours and my time.

      • NEO says:

        You won’t and I won’t yours either, I use it mostly to publicize the blog, it does OK at that, and a few other limited uses. I tend to prefer e-mail or texting to broadcasting.

        That said it is somewhat interesting to watch, on occasion. During the presidential debates it was fun to watch, while listening.

  5. dgcree says:

    I’m still waiting for all this leisure time promised by the computer boffs of the eighties – LoL

  6. genericmum says:

    It’s nice that your son follows the Pope.

  7. Me says:

    I have a Twitter, but it collects dust. I really do need to start a new one…or remember my login. From everything I have read relating to business, social media is the “it” thing, blogging helps too.

  8. Number 9 says:

    Ha ha ha you should consider taking a different course

  9. Pilgrim1966 says:

    I don’t really understand Twitter 😐

  10. abcinsc says:

    Ask your son to link your new Twitter account to your blog… or you can do it yourself. Then, your blogs will be posted automatically to your Twitter account. One blog post will do it all. Pretty cool. And yes, I remember the IBM punch card type computers the size of a small room. But we were never allowed near them… used slide rules. We’ve come a long way.

  11. Marie says:

    Love twitter. 🙂 I’m @MbernadetteE – will follow you. A thing of note, though – you can change the picture that appears to something personal instead of “the egg”. A lot of people see “egg” pictures and think it’s a spam bot (because those happen). It may help if you want to gain followers or follow more people as you become more familiar!

  12. I just got on twitter but barely using it. You have motivated me to learn, after I “regroup” I’ll figure it out and follow you…after I remember my password LOL.

  13. Mr. V. says:

    Whew…made it back from vacation! Now I need a rest, ha ha.

    Great post, and I’m with you. I am signed up for both Facebook and Twitter, but I’m very rarely on either of those sites. Mostly I have them linked up with WordPress so that whenever I post something on WordPress, announcements are then posted on Facebook and Twitter. I’m slowly getting adjusted to all the social media stuff.

  14. I’m against Facebook and Twitter because they create such a temptation to shallow, un-thought-out posting. People post overly personal things and have worse grammar and spelling when they use those technologies. Of course, the same thing happened when we went from carving stone to writing on papyrus, but I think our judgment catches up to technology at about a step every 25 or 30 years, so we should take a step about that often. That’s just how I feel. But I know you can handle Twitter, and I know the Pope can handle it too. I just don’t know if I can.

  15. Wow, IBM punch cards. I remember those. I had a class where we learned how to use them. I don’t remember how any more. When I first started learning about computers, we (in a general sense) were just starting to change to more modern computers. I took a class on BASIC when BASIC, COBOL, and PASCAL were the most common computer languages.

    It’s true, these social network sites can be a real time waster. For me, I find I can spend too much time on Facebook. I have “liked” a lot of Catholic pages, and there are lots of neat things to read, but I have to stop myself. Although, they are neat, they are not really the type of things I want to focus on. I want to read the Catechism and certain books by saints (right now Intro. to the Devout Life by Saint Francis de Sales), and I want to get around to reading Jesus of Nazareth by the pope. I’ve read several books by Saint Louis de Montfort (great books!). I like Twitter because I like the short messages. Many people put links to interesting articles, but that leads to the Facebook problem, spending a lot of time reading Catholic news articles or blog posts, etc. So, I try to stick to reading just the short messages and just read a few links that I think will be very interesting.

    My Twitter name is @MichaelsRosary if you want to follow. (There weren’t enough characters to make it MichaelsRosaries.) I’ll look you up.

  16. reinkat says:

    I remember IBM punch cards, too, and the computer was so big it filled the whole room. And now cell phones can do more than those big machines can . . . but I am dating myself here. I tried Facebook, don’t like it, so I don’t want to Twitter either, it seems shallow and annoying. But I could be wrong. My real question is, without actually having to do any Twitting, WHAT DID THE POPE SAY?

  17. I’ve recently started using Twitter too. I’m @ConnieRossini. Also trying to use it minimally and so not waste time.
    My computer course in college was the hardest one I took! Almost blew my GPA. We were doing BASIC and also had these terrible IBM-compatible PCs. My college papers on them were always a mess. I couldn’t even get the margins to line up. Thankfully, everything’s much easier now. I’ve even done some html and javascript. But I chose WordPress so I wouldn’t have to “waste” time trying to create a blog.

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