Texting for Seniors

ATD: At The Doctor’s
BFF: Best Friend Farted
BTW: Bring The Wheelchair
BYOT: Bring Your Own Teeth
CBM: Covered By Medicare
CGU: Can’t Get Up
CUATSC: See You At The Senior Center
DWI: Driving While Incontinent
FWB: Friend With Beta-blockers
FWIW: Forgot Where I Was
FYI: Found Your Insulin
GGPBL: Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low!
GHA: Got Heartburn Again
HGBM: Had Good Bowel Movement
IMHO: Is My Hearing-aid On?
LMDO: Laughing My Dentures Out
LOL: Living On Lipitor
LWO: Lawrence Welk’s On
OMMR: On My Massage Recliner
OMSG: Oh My! Sorry, Gas.
PIMP: Pooped In My pants
ROFL… CGU: Rolling On the Floor Laughing… Can’t Get Up
SGGP: Sorry, Gotta Go Poop
TTYL: Talk To You Louder
WAITT: Who Am I Talking To?
WTFA: Wet The Furniture Again
WTP: Where’s The Prunes?
WWNO: Walker Wheels Need Oil
GGLKI: Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking In

Thank you, Fredrick, for sharing. I am sure thousands will enjoy. 📲📲📲📲

Will you still add me, will you still tag me, when I’m 64?

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As we get older, the hours of our lives become more precious. I just finished reading an article in The Atlantic that questioned whether I want to spend the last 25 years of my life reading and posting items on Facebook.

The headline for this post came directly from the article. I loved those words when I read them. I hum the words now as if the Beatles wrote them.

The Atlantic article was entitled “At What Age Will You Stop Using Facebook?” In my opinion, the piece was really a metaphor for how we want to spend the last 20 or 30 years of our lives. By now, we have learned that we don’t want to spend a minute doing anything we don’t like or be in the company of people we can’t stand.

For some seniors, Facebook represents a validation of who they are. They show family and friends all the wonderful things they are doing and feel a sense of comfort that others recognize their importance. The other group likes to peek in the lives of others but will never share a thing about themselves.

I personally didn’t need to read the article to realize that some of the things that I used to love to do hold no interest for me now. I am surprised that my tastes have changed so much. I can no longer tolerate situations that never bothered me five or 10 years ago.

The question for me is not whether I will give up Facebook but rather will I still continue to follow the friends I have today. I already know the answer to that because a few months ago I started deleting people who rant, use Facebook as a platform to talk ill of others, and constantly post their religious and extreme political beliefs.

It felt so good to delete those people right out of my life. It is not so easy to do that offline. Little by little, they may even be getting rid of me. That’s okay. I don’t want to spend time on Facebook looking back. At this stage, I find that so uninteresting. I would rather delve into the world of the unknown and take my chances.

SENIORS OCCUPY TECHNOLOGY

The notion that many people over 55 are afraid of technology, is really something we’ve brought on ourselves. Did you ever notice that when someone really wants to learn something, they somehow do it quickly? I marvel at how many of my friends own iPads, read books on a Kindle or a Nook, text all day long, play Words With Friends and spend hours on Facebook.

I don’t know why, but I just love when I see people around my age or older using technology. I guess that is why I decided to write this blog. I have said it so many times before and I will say it hundreds of more times, now is a great time to be alive. The digital revolution never ceases to amaze me.

Last summer I was on a riverboat (AMAWaterways Amalegro ) cruising the country side of Germany on the Mosel and Rhine rivers. We started in Luxembourg and ended in Amsterdam. This type  of cruise usually draws the 50-and-above crowd who want to see the world after a lifetime of working. While we saw some of the most incredible sights in the world, the one that surprised me the most, was watching this crowd embrace their electronics after a day of touring.

Yesteryear, most older folks would retire to their staterooms for a nap. Not this group. Everyone rushed to the main parlor with its oversized panoramic windows to send emails, read their novels on ebooks or play electronic games. I remember vividly sitting in that room day after day with tears in my eyes and my heart filled with emotion because I was witnessing a dramatic lifestyle change.

Just because I worked in the tech business, it doesn’t mean that I was the only one exposed to the advantages of electronics. The word was spreading. Just a year ago it was novel to see the senior generation reading an ebook. Today it is totally weird to see them with the printed version. We are now at a place in our lives, where my generation, who’ve worked hard for the money they’ve made, are enjoying the comforts they’ve earned. Technology being one of them. Watch out world. Hear us roar. We are the ones who are going to dictate the needs of the digital revolution in the very near future.

YOUR GRAY IS SHOWING

The minute someone over 55 sees a gray hair, a wrinkle, a dark spot, or even a dimple someplace on their body where they have not seen it before, they want to cover it up immediately.  Why is it not the same way with their tech habits?

Many of the nearly 80 million baby boomers (many of them have turned 65 this year) and older seniors are exposing their tech naivety on almost a daily basis. I am not saying that this pertains to every senior person, but it certainly does to many.  I make my fair share of mistakes too, but I have a group of young techies around me constantly that point out my blunders every chance they get.

I wanted to address these fairly simple errors because if we correct them on a united front, then maybe we can achieve the respect we deserve.  As Mashable, one of the best tech blogs, recently pointed out, “As boomers confront old age,” they will certainly defy what we think it means to “get old.” It will challenge us to rethink how we use the web and how we engage older people with newer technologies.

Here is a list of absolute no no’s:

  1. Do not copy your entire email list in the “To” space.  That is what “Bcc” is for.  If you are sending out an email to multiple people who do not know each other, you must blind copy.  Most people do not want their email exposed to strangers.  I recently received an email with Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer and Arianna Huffington copied on it. Do you really think those gals want me to have their email address?  Ha! Don’t answer that.
  2. Just because you are retired and have nothing else to do, don’t send out jokes several times a day, every day, with the subject, “I usually don’t send out jokes but this one is really funny.”   Chances are someone else sent around those jokes already.  I have to clear out my inbox everyday from a certain someone who used to be the CEO of a major company.  He sends out about 20 to 30 jokes a day, even on high holy days.  I don’t have the heart to tell him to stop because he is such a wonderful guy. I picture him sitting at his computer day and night with his trigger finger ready to go.
  3. The one that makes you look like you died or just faded away is your Facebook page without your picture.  Many seniors want to join the world of social media, but just want to test it.  Either you jump in and engage, or delete your account.  You look like you are missing in action.  Some older people have told me that they only joined so they can follow their grandchildren.  Bad move. If they find out that is your main purpose, they know how to de-friend you and you will not know the difference.
  4. Please don’t tell people you don’t check your emails on a frequent basis even if it is true.  You sound like you are telling them you don’t take a shower every day. The Internet is all about instantaneous access.  You should be checking your email everyday or several times a day. To those that say “but no one emails me so why should I be checking.” I answer no one is sending you a check everyday, yet you wait for the mailman like it is your last meal.
  5. When someone sends you and others an email don’t “reply to all” unless your message is that important that others have to see it.  There is nothing worse than 10 people saying “You’re welcome” to the same person.  I make the same mistake when I get a text from my brother because the multiple names are hidden. My nephew Sam is always looking out for me, letting me know the faux pas I committed.   I am much sharper about my responses now.
  6. This is the worst and I want to scream bloody murder when someone forwards an email to me with pages and pages of lists of email addresses that have received the message already.  Why aren’t you cutting and pasting?  All you have to do is “forward” and delete the names of people who were previously copied. Why is it my responsibility to search through pages and pages of email addresses before I get to the content that you wanted me to read?  Honestly, I just delete these emails.  I can’t be bothered anymore.

I hope I am being helpful.  To quote Mashable, “The Boomer generation isn’t just big—it’s made up of people who think and act differently than previous generations.” This means we are suave, sophisticated and savvy.  We have a reputation to uphold.

TO BE OR NOT TO BE

One of the greatest things about being in the tech industry for so many years is that I get to meet hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who have a dream of building or creating something. I can probably tell within minutes of meeting that person if he or she is going to be successful. 

Scary isn’t it? Not really. Most of the time the person’s success really depends on his or her personality. There are certain ingredients that an inspiring entrepreneur must have in order to be successful. Sadly, most people just don’t have what it takes. I know a lot of seniors live vicariously through some of the young folks today who created something out of nothing and sold it for a billion dollars, like Instagram, or now have their companies valued at a $100 billion, like Facebook. I have to tell my generation that 99.9 per cent of the young people in the digital world today are not capable of inventing something and turning it into gold. 

My advice is to hold on to your money. I am not trying to be mean or negative. I just want to be the conveyor of reality.  Most angel investors are prepared to lose their money. They deal with percentages. If one out of 10 deals work, they have made back their losses and if they are really lucky they made a sizeable profit. Investing in social marketing or smartphone apps is an art. The average person doesn’t know what questions to ask or how to evaluate the business plan. A word to grandparents. If you finance a grandchild’s dream, consider it a gift. You most likely will never see a return. 

Everyone thinks they are Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs but the truth is unless today’s tech entrepreneur is obsessed with his or her work, compulsive, controlling, fearless, articulate and a problem solver, they will fail sooner or later.  I even dare to say that unless today’s entrepreneurs are willing to give up quality time with their families, they are dead ducks. That is just what it takes to make it in the age of the Internet where one week is like one day, one day is like an hour and one hour is like one minute. Internet time is much different than what the rest of the world is used to. Everything is instant response and instant gratification. 

I have witnessed so many people with tons of ideas that went nowhere fast. They just didn’t know how to execute. They were either so in love with their concept that they thought it would just take off, or they liked the idea of creating something but really had no interest in exerting enough sweat to see it to fruition. I can remember so many times, when I truly got excited about handling the public relations for a new invention or service only to have the creator flame out.  Many of these guys are screw ups and can’t handle success so they unconsciously do something that causes their downfall. 

My next blog post will be about some of the characters I’ve come across over the years. Get ready for a good laugh. You can’t make this stuff up.