Friday, March 21, 2014

I'm connected. Are you?

Hey there, October friends. Welcome to the twenty-first century. You’ve heard the news, haven’t you? We live in a new “connected” age. The question is, are you connected?

Though not all of us October folks will admit to it, I've decided it's time to come out of the closet. I have been connected---via Facebook---for several months now. At first it was our daughter-in-law’s idea. She assured us that “it’s the best way to keep track of your kids and grandkids.” How could we argue with that?

Of course, at our age we should have realized that sometimes it’s best to be careful what we wish for. True, we are “keeping track” of our extended family more than ever. That’s a fact. And it is fun to read about our family and what they’re up to, especially our grand-childrens’ awards, achievements, and fun. Yet on the other hand, do we really need to know about their tantrums, tattoos, and wild parties? Perhaps not. 

But we've also found that the benefits go far beyond our amazing grandchildren. We've been able to hear about, and visit with, friends and acquaintances we might never have connected with any other way. And beyond that, there is reason for new hope. The so-called experts tell us that the younger generation is rapidly deserting Facebook. Why is that? Well, it seems there are too many parents and grandparents listening in on their conversations. Apparently they don't like that any more than we do. As a result they are moving on to more confidential online meeting places---places that you and I don’t know about.
Does that mean that we, October crowd, are winning the Facebook war simply by showing up? Probably not. But after hearing the news that October folks, the ones I’d like to visit with, are becoming a larger part of the Facebook audience, I wondered if I should expand my own Facebook involvement. I let that bit of information percolate for a few days, making notes on how I might do that. Before long I was dealing with some interesting new possibilities. Specifically---it seemed I should extend my October Years reach to include Facebook---with its enhanced opportunities for an actual dialogue with October folks about topics that matter to them.

At first I thought in terms of Facebook posts that would feature entries from my October Years blog, the one you're reading right not. But I soon realized that with so many seniors adding their voices to the internet these days in the form of blogs, articles, photos, and videos, there is more worthwhile content out there than any of us will ever see. Why not spice things up with generous helpings of October-oriented material from those other sources, interspersed with my own blog material? That should add variety, and make things even more fun.

To be sure I have other, perhaps more sneaky reasons for an expanded Facebook presence. My Amazon Author’s page now lists eleven books---my personal interpretations of October Year's life and relationships. If a Facebook connection happens to make folks more aware of those stories, I can deal with that.

One last disclaimer. Not everyone is a Facebook person. Some of you have made the conscious choice not to be a part of that space. That’s fair. In that case I hope you'll at least take a moment to check out my Facebook page---to see what it’s about. You can do that without having a Facebook account. Once there, if you think what you see might be of interest to someone you know, perhaps a special October friend who might enjoy it, I hope you will pass it on. If you'd like to follow this October Years blog I hope you'll add it to the list of sites you visit periodically. As always, I welcome your comments below.

Gil Stewart