Friday, April 27, 2012

Get off my lawn! Wait? Your Lawn?

One thing that I find challenging about targeting audiences is to really get my head around who understands what when it comes to technology and modern trends.

Talking to students the today I realized that ten years ago a Palm Pilot was cutting edge technology.  On mine I could read websites, provided I plugged the pilot into a computer and downloaded a snapshot of the pages I wanted with the day's news.  The news was right there in my hand to read at my leisure, provided I didn't want news any more current than the last time I did a manual sync.  In that time not only is color a standard feature (you paid a lot more for a color pilot), but, well... there really is no comparison.

Of course this didn't post didn't come to mind at that moment but last week when I was talking to a fellow teacher, who I will call Mike.

Mike, I don't generally let myself think, isn't much older than me.  Of course I forget that he is, inasmuch as he has a granddaughter that he dotes on like we dote on our newborn.  So perhaps I'm a little harsh on him for falling a touch behind the times.

I was telling him about my story Missed Connections that I wrote for a small weekly contest over on Good Reads (it tied for first place for the week).  As an aside I've been so busy since I haven't been keeping up and have missed chances to write on the topics "Cadaver" and "Deja Vu".

I started off by saying that I was particularly proud of how this story had come together.  "It starts off with a post on Craigslist where this guy is trying to get this attention of this girl".

Mike stared at me a moment and then returned to the copy  machine.  "I have no idea what that means."

"Well," I explained, "it's a website where people put up personal ad's.  There's a section called Missed Connections that's meant for people to say 'hey, I missed you, if you see this call me'."

Mike did not turn around.  "Yeah, I'm afraid I'm just too old to get that."

Now, Mike and I talk a lot about education.  We talk a lot about current events.  We used to talk a lot about politics though we've really started to avoid that because, well, we don't agree and like most adults you either punch someone you don't agree with or you just avoid the topic.  So we avoid it.  It's best that way.  I'm digressing.

So I tried, anyways, to summarize the plot figuring that knowing the ins and outs of internet dating wouldn't be critical to appreciating the genius that the story is.  I get through the twist and the conclusion just as Mike is gathering up his papers.  "Yeah, I'm sorry but I think I'm just too old to appreciate that story."


How did I manage to write a story that was too modern for my friends to get it?  How did the technology curve turn so sharply that a peer of mine, professionally, has fallen behind me on it?  Is something like internet dating that weird?

I feel like the old fart around my kids.  I see dramas unfold in real time in the classroom as phones sneak out under desks, and then students have a sudden need to "go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW", phone still in shaking hand.  I think "wow, I'm old compared to these guys".  Yet, apparently, I'm young enough to still tap the current changes and trends.  FanastiCon is selling better as an eBook than it is in paperback, though thanks to family the paperbacks are still doing fairly well.  I get ePublishing.  Heck I have hard time understanding why we still need a post office given the ease and ubiquity of email.

Yet... I'm still, somehow, ahead of others.  I don't Tweet, I do Facebook.  I don't tumblr, I don't Instagram and I don't FourSquare.  But, I do ... blog?

Blogging's not cool anymore is it?  I mean if everyone's blogging it can't be that much of a rage.  

Still, the real point of this some what erratic stream of conscious is this:  Do I need to consider adding author's notes to explain the cutting edge technology that is around us every day that not every potential reader might realize?  Or, is it ultimately better to leave the in-jokes, and know that my audience will respect me for expecting them to come with some prior knowledge?

At any rate, if you, dear reader, have not moseyed over to my Short Story Page, I encourage you to do so and give Missed Connections a read.  If nothing else I could use the page views.  ~grin~

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