“Nothing says ‘old fart’ more than not keeping up with technology,” a friend in her late 60s told me not long ago.
I’m not sure I’d want to attach that label to the many people who feel intimidated by tech, but I do agree that “I’m too old for that” is not acceptable. Other excuses I dismiss include:
If you’re behind in tech, there’s just one thing you lack: fearlessness.
I’m scared of my shadow, but when it comes to tech, I’m fearless. It’s a learning curve, so there will be errors. But when did we become so afraid of making mistakes?
Why do we consider any do-over as “wasting time” instead of as investing some hours now in order to save us a lot of time eventually or to expand our life skills? Older people were once legendary for having endless patience, but from what I can tell, there’s been a seismic shift.
If you’re already doing Google searches to learn how to do a plumbing repair or make a fancy dessert, you know that you can search “how to…” absolutely anything, and you’ll likely pull up a selection of YouTube videos that walk you through the steps. You can do the same thing to learn how to do something technological.
My fearlessness helps me play! If you enjoy creative projects, there’s so much to do online.
Draw online just for fun. Try out your interior decor ideas in a virtual room. Pretend you’re a fashion designer. Write a song on an online keyboard.
We all love our photos, but they often need some sort of tweaking. You can “photoshop” your photos without Photoshop. I use the website pixlr.com, but there are countless others.
One common photo adjustment is resizing. Don’t let a simple “attachment is too large” message on your email stop you from sending your friend that cute pic of your grandchild when it’s easy to reduce the size with software that comes with your computer or by uploading the photo to a website.
You also can crop the image, lighten or darken it, change the colors, get rid of the background – there’s no end to the ways you can turn one photo into your own art project. Did you know that you can transform a photo to look like an oil painting?
Sometimes I like to merge photos into one to make a composite photo presentation. This is a simple task. A Google search for “merge photos online free” will pull up lots of options for you.
Creating a video slide show or series of live-action clips is another fun project, and there are many websites to help you do that. I got a good deal at wave.video, which I use any time I’m in the mood to make a video slide show.
The end result doesn’t have to look professional, just as your painting or sculpting hobby does not have to result in museum-quality artwork. For example, I wanted to have a video to remember the songs that shaped the soundtrack of this pandemic, so I made one: Soundtrack Summer 2020.
The idea is to be fearless, not gullible, so I do have one word of caution. Before you download any software, click on a button granting permission of any kind or sign up at a fee-based website, take a few minutes to Google online reviews that let you know the download is safe, the website is legitimate, or the money is worth spending.
A lot of older people who have become comfortable with Facebook are still scared of other social media like Instagram and Twitter. Each social network has its purpose, so why not explore? Remember – be fearless and try new things!
You can quickly establish an account and look around the app. What are people doing with it? Wander without being afraid to get lost down rabbit holes, because that’s where the most interesting nuggets hide.
As with other technology, approach new social media by trying it out slowly and learning little by little. Maybe you’ll think you posted something, but it never showed up. Perhaps you’ll share something embarrassing by mistake.
You’ll get better at it the same way you improve at anything – practice. You didn’t learn the piano overnight, either.
From figuring out how to quickly text a screen capture on your phone to getting rid of cords by switching over every tech toy to Bluetooth, you don’t need to gain anything to be a tech talent. Rather, you need to lose something – lose the fear.
What online services have you tried? Which ones do you find the most fun? Do you have a hobby you can do online? Which apps help you be the most creative? Please share with our community!