Can anyone who is old enough to remember imagine making carbon copies of “my thought for today” and sending this document to 10 of their friends – let alone 100 or 1,000 and more relatives, friends, workmates, and in fact anybody interested around the world?
Blogging would never have been possible before the widespread availability and acceptance of fast computers and internet communication. When I bought my first desktop computer in 1987 I could only use it to produce more efficiently the rather basic kind of documents (letters, articles, lists, and spreadsheets) I had worked with up to that time. My trusty XT included the first version of Microsoft Windows, which was foreshadowed as the PC’s answer to Apple’s more user-friendly operating system, but both were not even a pale shadow of what OS-X and Windows do now. The speed with which information technology (IT) has developed continues to amaze and captivate the likes of me.
I love working with equipment that has as many possibilities as my laptop and my selection of software for the Windows 7 operating system. There is an almost limitless world to explore and master, both on the machine and in cyberspace.
Having retired recently from full-time paid work, and because I enjoy teaching and writing, there are two new IT areas I have opened up this year.
Most people just a few years older than me have never worked with computers but recognise something of their potential use. Recently our Government started funding computers for the training and use of older Australians. So I am helping several of them to understand a computer and to be able to use it in a basic way: to send and receive emails, to be able to navigate and explore the world-wide web, and to use a program like Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends. The people I’ve been teaching find that working one-to-one is so much more effective and enjoyable than attending computer classes, and they all seem to appreciate my patience and explanations – somewhat surprising to me but good for my ego too!
This year I have also started blogging.
This series of Fred’s Pages posts doesn’t often attract a large number of readers and even fewer Comments, but that doesn’t matter. I don’t have a large circle of close friends or bosom buddies with whom I can chat and interact with style or gusto… that’s just not me. Rather, I write these weekly Pages to record some of my experiences, hobbies and likes, thoughts, passions and observations. I do this mostly because I enjoy writing, and because writing helps me to reflect and to refine my thinking.
The other blogsite for which I write each week deals with something I have kept mostly to myself until recently. The long-term effects of infant surgery have affected me and others (survivors, their parents, and I believe the medical workers involved) in a multiplicity of ways, and this is something that should be much more widely and fully recognised. My Surviving Infant Surgery posts get many more readers than Fred’s Pages. I doubt whether SIS will change the world, but I’d love it to! At least I and my co-blogger Wendy Williams in the USA are building an information resource I dearly wish had been available to me.
Research and observations tell us that most of us who blog reveal more on Facebook and in blogs than we would ever do face to face. It seems (at least in part) that blogging gives us who don’t have a loud voice or an outgoing character a platform and the motivation, courage and accountability to break out of our private world. It’s been said (rightly I believe) that in this, blogging is like Alcoholics Anonymous. Each enables people who would never seek, like or be given the limelight and yet want to break out of their constrained life to tell an audience something about who they really are and what they’d most like.