I was giving a talk to a group of lovely women. It was about writing and life and stuff. Another writer pal who happens to be a successful podcaster joined in on the sweet adventure. Little did we know our panel of two was about to get hit with an epiphany.
Near the end of our shtick, my friend was asked about her podcast. She offhandedly mentioned to this gathering of vibrant ladies (kids my age to 92) how podcasts are already built into most of their devices. We instantly noticed a lot of double takes.
The meeting turned into a scene that looked like an encore for a rock concert. Phones flew out of Vera Bradley bags and cardigan pockets. Glowing screens instantly appeared up in the air. I would estimate, conservatively, 100 percent of the group was on it.
Murmurs, oohs and ah-ha’s ensued. Well there it was, all along — the purple podcast icon. Some in the group who were already tech savvy began helping their neighbors navigate to this rich portal. Others were asking me and my cohort for help.
As I absorbed the frenzy, I felt as if I were being smacked in the forehead by a 30 pound turkey. A suspicion was verified: Too many of the brightest, most curious and wisest minds among us have not been fully introduced to the coolest features of their Apples and Androids.
Five years ago I rarely saw generational spans tapping on screens. That has changed. Many seniors or almost-seniors have acquired their devices for basic functions — phone calls, pictures or maybe emails — but for quite a few folks the conveniences have stopped there.
Something must be done. And the timing could not be better.
Take heed, texters, tweeters and snapchatters, because here we are, right now, riding on the holiday gravy train. Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Myrna will soon be with us, under the same roof, for many hours.
All of us who know our devices need to start a movement for the holidays: “Tech Up The Rels.” (#TechUpTheRels)
Get to work, Nephew Lyle and Cousin Anna. College kids. High-schoolers. Middle-agers like me who are addicted to Twitter. Hipsters everywhere, walk your skinny jeans over to Aunt Doris at the end of the table. Show her how to text. Or how to check the week’s forecast. Show her something new. If she doesn’t have a device yet, give her a lesson on yours to unveil the mystery.
Spare the eye rolling. You probably don’t know how to work your aunt’s deluxe Cuisinart or your grandpa’s double bevel miter saw. Find the patience app in your soul and realize it’s the older generation that somehow paved the roads and greenlighted educational support to get us to this point of technology. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, after all, were born the same year as your Uncle Fred.
I know firsthand “Tech-ing Up the Rels” can work. My mom, who is also a great grandmother, wanted to get in on the texting and Facebook scene a few years ago. I gave her an iPad. She’s been happily “lol-ing” family members, checking Facebook and going on informational safaris.
Just few weeks ago I gifted my parents a wireless speaker. I pointed to the Pandora app, set them up with the French Café station and voila, hello 2017. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to hear my folks actually say “Bluetooth” and “USB port charger.”
Mega-Bonus: “Tech-ing Up the Rels” is a great way to avoid the topics we especially want to skip this particular year.
“Well I think the proposed tax plan—”
“Hey Uncle Ralph hand me your phone and I’ll show you the stock app…”
It’s the season of sharing, after all. Spend some time with your wise elders and pass the pixels. Before you know it they’ll be texting you with messages of thankfulness.
App-y Holidays, folks.
Reach Denise Snodell at email@example.com. On Twitter @DeniseSnodell
P.S. Shameless plug. My friend’s podcast is “The History Chicks.” Great stuffing for the mind.