I’ve been mulling over my live WordPress lesson with Alexis Grant at Panera yesterday. Alexis is five years younger than my daughter, and she whizzed effortlessly around her laptop, demonstrating all kinds of features I’d been clueless about and even teaching me some html language. I asked her if she’d ever formally studied this stuff, and she hasn’t – she’s entirely self-taught.
Like me, most of my writer friends are of what I’d charitably call the “eligible for AARP” generation. Unlike me, the majority are technophobic when it comes to computers and social networking. Some have their own websites (designed by others), and some subscribe to Yahoo groups for writers, like Murder Must Advertise. But the idea of blogging still intimidates them. And Facebook or Twitter? Forget it!
Those of us over 50 learned how to learn in a totally different modality – linear, left-brain and logical. As a traditional college student, I excelled: I attended all the lectures, took diligent notes, did all the assigned reading, underlining the key points, and emerged from the academic sausage machine Magna cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
But that was a completely different style of learning. Navigating my way around a program like WordPress requires a much more intuitive, experimental approach, and the ability to endure trial, error and ambiguity, and to search for solutions that are hidden in layers beneath layers. Come to think of it, it’s a lot more like the creative process of fiction writing or painting, arts I came to after I was finished with academia. Maybe I’ll even come to enjoy it and transcend my technophobia.
Hmm, I see lots of questions emerging for future blogs. How does age impact on our ability to learn whole new ways of thinking? Does the way we were taught in the past handicap our ability to learn new technology? I’d love to see others weigh in on this.
One simpler thing Alexis inspired me to do: blog in the morning rather than late at night. Golly gee, the thoughts actually flow more easily!