Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Movie

Happy Monday! I thought I'd ring in the new week with a book-related video (to which I may have linked before) that never fails to make me laugh:





Alas, just like your high school English teacher, I don't show movies without ulterior motives and/or quizzes. Those being: I find this a fair analogue to the baby boomers (and even older folks) who may now be dealing with the rise of e-books and e-publishing, but being the young whippersnapper that I am, I could be horribly wrong. What do you think? Is the technology difficult for older folks to adopt, will they be able but unwilling to make the switch, or are they secretly the perfect market for electronic publishing?

Tomorrow: the horrors of self-publishing!

22 comments:

  1. I love that video! I think you had linked to it before, but it's such a classic that it never hurts to link again. As for the adoption of technology, I'm not convinced that age is a factor. My grandparents may never adopt e-readers, but maybe my mom will. For me, I doubt I will just because my eyes don't allow me to read for extended periods on an electronic screen. It's less straining and thus more enjoyable for me to read on paper. I think that this is what it will ultimately come down to in e-publishing and the mass adoption of e-readers: comfort and ability.

    Great post!

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  2. I love my e-reader and would read exclusively on it if there was a way of putting all my physical books on it that wouldn't cost me hundreds of pounds. Can't see my parents ever getting one, despite my raving about it.

    And in response to the post above, the e-ink readers are just like reading a book. I hate reading on a computer screen but my e-reader is comfortable, even over long periods.

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  3. Having served several sentences as a Tech Support Engineer, the thing that strikes me as the most accurate part of this video is the attitude of the technophobe. He's so convinced the book is a bad idea that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    People, regardless of age, who approach new technology with a willingness to try and understand usually adapt very quickly. Those who actively resist never seem to get it.

    I'm sure with e-readers and e-books we'll see more than a few people on each end of the spectrum.

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  4. Oh this clip always brings a smile and helps me to keep my patience working with people who are less than tech inclined. Which use to be hard sometimes because the questions from work were litereally, "How do I send an email to myself?" from a college student. Age knowns no boundries when it comes to technology un-friendliness.

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  5. Okay now I have to date myself. Everytime I get a new cell phone I have to call a local teen to help me figure it out. Then I discovered Facebook. I needed help again. They had to help me out with the whole blogging thing. I figured out texting by myself (that's only because my phone has a keyboard). And now there's Twitter. AAAUGH! I'm drowning in a sea of technology and I'm not even in the deep end.

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  6. I know those people! Being older than you, I can tell you that this video is not that funny to a lot of my peers. I have had to help them through computer anxiety. There are three types of old e-folks:

    1)Remembers just what you showed them, after being shown a gazillion times. Can do their work, but nothing more. Afraid to touch any other key, or open any other program.

    2) Fearless idiots... Not afraid to touch anything. Constantly screwing up the system. Bangs on the monitor frequently, assuming that will undo the damage they caused.

    3)People that try and learn. Explore programs they haven't yet used. Realize the value of not saving! Oops? ...just close and don't save it! Realize the value of saving and backing up. When faced with a task, find a way to accomplish it using the programs they have.

    In my personal experience, the people in the third category are a minority. Did I answer your question?

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  7. I was one of two unofficial tech support people for one of the newspapers I worked at. Three out of the four older employees (admitted un-tech inclined folks) learned to heed our words when we said "Don't touch anything!"

    The fourth one was a number 2 in Lily's list. He would also jump from computer to computer, convinced it was the COMPUTER that was the problem and not him.

    But I agree with SM and Don above. Tech inexperience knows no age boundary.

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  8. LOL! This post is sooooo timely. I just spent ALL MORNING trying to explain memory sticks to my 72 year old mother.

    Even after many demonstrations, I don't think she understands.

    Worse, her 10 year old computer is dying. Tomorrow we are going shopping for a new one. Then I'll spend a week teaching her the new features, which she won't dare touch again unless I'm standing with her. Shudder.

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  9. I actually think it's the opposite. To me, this video makes a commentary on kids who have never seen certain old technologies, and have no idea how to use them anymore. My daughter has no idea how to use a record player, for instance. A dial-up phone, my kids just look at like it's some kind of torture device. My children almost never get an actual letter, and barely know how to put together a letter themselves.

    As we face the new technology, I think this video says, we are in danger of forgetting how to do basic things, like figuring out how to open a book.

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  10. Define "baby boomer" and "older". I'm 52. I started programming computers, likely before you were born. I started reading e-books on my Dell PDA when there was almost no one publishing them (thank goodness for Mobipocket). Thinking "older" folks won't read e-books is ageist in the worst way. Some folks just like technology and some don't. I know lots of "young" people who would kick and scream if you tried to take away their print books, for all sorts of esoteric reasons. I won't go into the million reasons e-books are good for any age. But if you need a reason us old farts like it? Arthritic hands (from 26 years of working on a keyboard) and re-sizable font (damaged eyes from 26 years of reading on a computer screen).

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  11. This Baby Boomer hates e-books and e-readers, not because I can't figure out the technology, but because I love books. Printed books. Sorry. Can't help it.

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  12. I have to agree with some of the other commenters. I don't think its age that defines our technology skills as much as a willingness to learn new skills. I'm a baby boomer and I find twitter uninspiring. Who wants to listen to my little quips. I keep thinking of the commercial where the two kids are telling their parents to stop posting so much and the Dad writes "I'm sitting on the patio."

    My kids told me to get on Facebook, so I'm on it. Sometimes its the only way I know what they're doing--they work full time so I don't always hear from them.

    I could definitely get into e-readers, but I like the feel of a book in the hands better. I think it's a personal preference, not an age preference.

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  13. Nice vid!

    I had recently gone ten years without a computer of any kind. When I finally got one (a laptop!), it took some getting used to (not to mention, how much the internet had changed in ten years...I had no idea what a blog was), and I wouldn't call myself old, elderly, senior, or the like.

    Personally, I have nothing against e-readers. I just prefer the printed page.

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  14. Hi Eric - I just got a Kindle and have to say that I love it. And what really surprised me is that when I showed it to my 70-year-old mom (who gets so nervous when she tries to use her computer that she almost hyperventilates), she absolutely loved it as well. She was quite impressed by the fact that she wouldn't have to drag a heavy book around with her. She tried several of the features, and because it was so user-friendly, she had no trouble whatsoever (and didn't even need a paper bag!).
    I don't think it's the fact that it's digital that turns older users away - it's how easy it is to use that's the key.
    Regarding the generational issue, I think that soon younger kids will become quite familiar with eReaders. I think the next digital effort will probably be to put textbooks on eReaders. Think how many trees and taxpayer dollars could be saved, not to mention chronic back pain from kids trying to drag around 30 pounds worth of books.

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  15. I have a completely unrelated comment. Well, question, actually. What language are they speaking?

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  16. One of the biggest growth areas in ebook reader demographics is older people. The other is women.

    If a person sees the value in a technology, they will figure it out. Older folks appreciate the ability to change the text font to a bigger size as well as the ease of buying books. Women, particularly heavy readers, like the wide variety of ebook content as well as the ease of buying.

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  17. I thought I heard one of them say "ya wol" (spelling?) which is 'of course' in German...maybe they're speaking a dialect of that?

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  18. I believe it's Norwegian. I know it's not German, since I speak German and have no idea what they're saying.

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  19. To K L Romo: Actually, there are several school districts now that have abandoned print textbooks completely. They say it's cheaper to give each child a laptop and preload it with the books they'll need for the year. As an added bonus, the texts can be customized to their state's curriculum requirements and kept up-to-date without having to completely repurchase books for the entire district.

    On the subject of ebook readers: I find myself with a foot in both worlds. With the newer readers becoming easier on the eyes, I think we'll see them becoming more common. The age of the user really doesn't make a difference. If nothing else, we'll see fewer facial injuries amongst Wheel of Time and Tad Williams fans as less people drop hardcover phone books on themselves while reading in bed.

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  20. I agree with Kat Sheridan. I'm 55 and make my living using computers. Knock it off with the condescending ageist stuff, peeps.

    OTOH, I make my living as a graphic designer. Do you think I spent a year of my life writing my current WIP so it could become something I could have produced myself? I have loved everything about "real" books all my life. Electrons feel like a cheat. And reading on screen is the ultimate busman's holiday.

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  21. My mother is 70. She is losing her memory. She's never used an ATM and she's lost the ability to use her cell phone. What do you think? Of course she won't be able to use an e-book. Books are leaned in very early childhood. My almost two year old knows how books work. However, I know how fast they learn. The better question is will technology eventually keep children from learning to write with a pencil? When will Kindle come out with the Kindle Jr? The full color - unbreakable - it reads to your kids so you don't have to put down the Kindle Sr. model?

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  22. I showed this to my fiance who works with computer support. He said it was hilarious but oh too painful to laugh at.

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