Monday, April 05, 2010

Facebook, Tweets, ipads And The Modern Caveman


Last month Dan sent me an email inviting me to his facebook page. I am not the facebooker type but since he asked I went to facebook and signed up so he would have my screen name used on his facebook page. That was about it for my history on facebook.

This weekend frequent LITGM commenter Johnny J. sent me a similar email. Never having met Johnny in person we share similar interests. I send him pheasant feathers for his fly tying jones and he sends me top shelf liquor when he looses sporting bets to me. Johnny J is one of the truly good people out in Seattle. My response to him was I forgot my facebook password but once they sent me a new one I would respond to his invite. His next response kidded me about being (in so many words) old and disconnected. He joked and I laughed.

A big media event this weekend hyping the retail release of the Apple ipad along with a visit from my son and his iphone caused me to reflect on my past and current use of new technology. The boy told me what a fabulous tool his iphone was and I know darn well it is, it comes from Apple. He reminded me about my early acceptance with and professional use of computers (early 80’s). He also reminded me how much I promoted Apple Computer products. I always did. On the bookcase behind me here in the home office rests my first Mac for home use bought in about 1989.

Times have sure changed. But I am no longer on the bleeding edge of technology as I once was so proud to be.

At one time I would attend Macworld in San Francisco each January to be amazed by new software and Apple’s latest innovations. I had connections at the time that got me into the Apple HQ at One Infinite Loop in Cupertino and the parties hosted by Apple on the roof on the Moscone Center following keynote addresses. I even had the rare opportunity to shake hands and converse with the great man himself. A truly humbling experience. Mr. J! I watched as Japanese attendees literally bowed on their knees before him. I also had connections with top software developers such as this guy, one-time owner of this company. Now there was a true genius and I was humbled in his presence many times. He even gave me his very expensive software free, before public release with the promise that I find uses for it in the business world and promote it. I did.

You see, being a graphic designer caused me to become as tech-savvy as possible in order to stay ahead of the curve. I would not go as far to say I was a visionary but I knew my artistic contemporaries shunned technology and by embracing it I would have a competitive edge. I did. My early years of mastering Apple as well as Adobe products and emerging technologies in the graphic arts made me more valuable to my agency than the others. I was rewarded financially and eventually earned the rank of Sr. V.P. Group Creative Director at a large New York based international advertising agency’s Chicago office. It allowed me to make presentations in corporate boardrooms and dazzle them with high tech visual presentations. I owe so much to Apple.

Technology along with my Apple computer allowed me to semi-retire by becoming an independent contractor based out of my home office. Some of my clients are hundreds of miles away, as far as Jacksonville FL and I am able produce and deliver work as quick as if I were down the hall.

The internet was fascinating to me but not to the point where I ever wanted to design websites, meaning I needed to learn programming and slave at a keyboard instead of my cordless digital paint tablet. That was way too much science and not enough art for me. Knowing that universities were churning out tech-savvy youngsters it was my decision to let them have the internet work while I would concentrate on what I do best. It was my choice to step aside and let the kids play in that sandbox. Soon I realized I was quickly becoming a tech Luddite. It’s nothing to be ashamed of at all and have no regrets. I try to keep up only with what will profit me, since I am no longer beholden to those corporate boardroom asswipes.

Blogs caught my interest for many reasons. The internet allows anyone to be a publisher. We can publish essays, rants, screeds, images and videos anytime about anything. This is something that is a hobby for me and something I truly love. Just as I was thinking of starting my own blog there was a request on LITGM for a third contributor. LITGM was a blog bookmarked and I visited often. The opportunity presented itself and here we are today. It’s a real gas and a great alternative creative outlet for me. It also allows remote friends and relatives to learn what I am up to. Eventually Dan, Carl, Andrew and I met in person attending tailgates at Bear games and target practice at our farm. Excellent people they all are and it is a pleasure knowing them. It would not have happened without a simple blog on the internet.

Social networking sites sprang up but because of my desire for internet privacy I gave them the Walter Payton straight-arm and kept on running. There is no reason for me to post personal information about myself or to connect with old high school classmates. What reason do I have for owning a homepage with images or videos of me shooting bottle rockets out of my ass? Facebook, MySpace and others have gotten a lot of innocent and ignorant people in deep trouble at work or school. No thanks, I passed.

Then there is the most insipid thing ever to come along to me called Twitter. How interesting would it be to follow anyone’s little tweeters about trivial instances in life? Call me old school but it’s none of my business and I choose to completely shun the concept. I do have a life and it’s private thank you very much. And there is no interest on my part to find out if Kim Kardooshian is tweeting about her Bush.

At the age of 57 I have accomplished far more than I ever imagined as I worked my ass off an average of ten hours each day including many weekends and traveling on business for weeks at a time for thirty-two farging years. The hard work allowed me to lay back in semi-retirement at a relatively early age. I now look to enjoy my free time doing what I feel like doing whenever.

Which all brings me to the new ipad. I do not own an iphone for the simple reason that if I did it would enslave me to a device that would keep me from enjoying things like the outdoors. Being connected with yet another frivolity that would distract me from enjoying a free life at an expense best used for traveling or spending quiet time out on the water in my boat or in the woods with my Browning sweet sixteen makes no sense at all. But that's me.

The ipad would allow me to purchase and read books on a shiny backlit screen. I now prefer atoms to bits. Give me a tree-killing book any day.

SIDEBAR: Speaking of books, this guy coined the term ‘atoms to bits’ in this book. It truly was prophetic in its day. I read it when it was published in 1995.

The ipad promises to keep me connected to the internet anywhere or anytime. Screw that. I will connect in my office at home with my high-end desktop Mac or my Mac laptop that enables me to work or connect offsite.

I fart in the general direction of fools who line up outside Apple retail stores days before the glorious release of the latest technological gadget. I scoff at the media idiots who gush how this product is a game changer. But as a stockholder it is a beautiful thing. Making money off fools who rush in is the backbone of capitalism, what’s left of it.

This week I may sign on to facebook as gerryfromvalpo. I will create a page enabling blogmates and others interested in LITGM to invite me to their sites and they to mine. But it stops there. I may announce the glorious event here if I feel like it.

I think I’ll turn off the phone and take Dottie out for a run in the woods now. The sun is shining. It’s 70 degrees with little humidity. The woods are in bloom and the air is alive with life. It’s a bluebird day here in north central Indiana. It’s a beautiful early spring afternoon.

When I get back I will watch the White Sox win their homo opener with Buerle on the mound on my good old tube television in my man cave with the garage door wide open drinking cold homebrew from the fridge (which is placed conveniently within reach) followed hopefully by a big Butler win tonight.

I will crank up the boat this week for the first time this year and possibly head for the cabin in Michigan to be with old friends catching and releasing early bass and crappie. Old hunting buddy Nestor has invited me to southwestern Illinois for turkey hunting next week. I just may take him up on that offer.

Life is truly good being disconnected. Give it a try.


Jonathan said...

It's good to be disconnected.

Dan from Madison said...

Good post. I really don't get Twitter, but I have to admit that I enjoy Facebook. Facebook has made me realize that people can be funny and they don't even know it.

Also, I 1000% agree with you that the outdoors has to take priority to many of the time wasting activities that the gadgets bring. I think it was Carl that said it was all "too much communication about nothing", although he may have stolen that.

After I get off work I am doing strength training and running outside, and the gym will have the big bay doors open for MT class so we can enjoy the weather. A great evening for me is ahead, as well.


Mark said...

I love Letterman's take on twitter. He keeps asking: But... how do i get paaaaid? I just joined Facebook about a week ago, but the only reason was to push a few more potential customers to my (my wife's) business page. The amount of marketing and the community we've been able to build in five months without spending a dime is amazing.

Chris from Colorado said...

I carried a pager for 10 freakin' years. I'll stay disconnected too, thank you.

I think Kim Kardooshian was tweeting about her Bush using Twatter, not Twitter.

Peggasus said...

I agree wholeheartedly, most of the time my cellphone isn't even on. It was so freeing when we went to Colorado a few years ago to disconnect for two weeks.

We had that MacPlus too when it first came out, 1987 or so, I think. I wish I would have hung onto it, I would have retrofitted it into a small aquarium or something. We had a design firm, and many Macs over the years, our first Quadra was not only HUGE, but cost over $9000! My son's iTouch probably has more power now.

Also, laughing at Chris' comment. Har.