Irish writer, story teller, broadcaster, teacher, lecturer and workshop facilitator Catherine Brophy laments her dependence on technology in a tongue in cheek blog post, expressing the frustration we all feel at times.
Getting to grips with The Internet will land me in jail because if one more person advises me that the best way to learn how to use it is to “play around” I WILL bite a lump out of their leg.
If one more person tells me “it’s easy, just a couple of clicks” I will smash their face in.
And if one more person advises me to “write the best book I can,” “be myself”, and warns against posting nastys on Facebook or Twitter, I may just go postal and get out my chainsaw.
I am an adult. I know all this. What I do not know is the nitty-gritty of how the Internet stuff works. What do I click? Where do I find it? I mean whereabouts on that page full of information, tiny writing, moving ads, sidebars, links and photos of kittens.
Yes, yes, I know that nobody can tell me everything about the Internet and that I will have to find out lots of stuff for myself. But there are things that people could tell me, things that could help get me started. Give me some confidence. Lead me out of the pit of despair I fall into when, after hours on line, I’ve found nothing I wanted. When I’ve surfed and surfed and surfed all for nothing and I just want to chuck it all in and read a nice book.
But I can’t chuck it in. I want to publish my books on line so I have to find out. But at this rate I’ll never write again because I’ll be lost forever in cyberspace trying to figure stuff out.
Here’s what I need to know.
What can I do on it?
How do I do it?
How can I best use it to promote my work?
I’m on it. I have followers. I’m told I should have conversations and reply to people. But nobody says anything interesting. I reply to those who send messages and then that’s it. I keep hearing that Twitter is agog about this issue or that – not on my page. What am I doing wrong?
I joined and I was instantly swamped with e-mails. Why are all these people befriending me on Goodreads? Do I reply to them all?
I checked out groups. All anyone said was “Loved this book” or “Must read it soon” Whaaaaaat? There must be more to it. How do you get to the good stuff?
They say there are buttons you should put on your site to help readers to like, to follow, sign up, give feedback, complile lists of e-mails etc.
How do I do that?
Are they widgets?
What widgets are they?
What groups? Where?
How does that work?
What? Where? How?
THREE LETTER ABBREVIATIONS
I spent THREE MONTHS trying to connect my WordPress website to my .ie domain.
I am not an idiot.
I am not a technophobe.
I Googled, I phoned, I e-mailed, I went into on-line information chats, I even sent letters by snail-mail. In return I got information that I could not understand, partial information and downright wrong information. Finally I wrote a stinker to the management at Blacknight. I got an instant reply plus the correct information in language I understood. It took THREE MINUTES to make the connection!
That was last June, I’ve spent all the time since trying things out, Googling information, trying to get to grips and learning very little indeed.
Tech-savvy people make enormous assumptions about what is common knowledge. This drives the not-so-tech-savvy people like me to despair.
Am I the only one with this problem?
Catherine Brophy is an Irish writer, story teller, broadcaster, teacher, lecturer and workshop facilitator. I was born and reared in Dublin and I have travelled the world. In my distant past I was an audiologist dealing with children and now I use that skill by going to Zambia as a volunteer with E.N.T.Zambia.