How to Explain Blogging to the Old Folks
Last week, my mother’s two old aunts came over for lunch. The elder of them was so old; she walks by shuffling her feet forward like a Chinese granny with lotus feet and the younger of them lost all her teeth about a decade ago. I was in the middle of blogging when they arrived so I didn’t get to welcome them. I was summoned by my mother when it was time for lunch and I had to go through the perfunctory greetings between relatives — you know how it goes. My mom told them I was working as a writer and Lotus-feet Granny smiled widely and detailed about her stint as a journalist (way before World War II). She asked me what subjects I write and for what newspaper I was working for. I shared a look with my mother in knowledge that it will be a hard-time trying to explain blogging to my ancient grannies.
I stuttered a little and tried to think of a way to analogize blogging with something they could understand. And believe me; it took me more than just a couple of minutes to explain. When I told them I mainly work through the Internet, they both ogled at me in disbelief and proclaimed that the Internet is “evil” and it’s the “demon incarnate.” I almost choked on my fried chicken.
So, how do you explain blogging to the old folks who don’t have a clue? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Granny, It’s Sort of a Diary, Only More Modern
I think this is the easiest way to try and give them a visualization of what blogging is. I also started with this explanation for my mom who, unfortunately, used to be just as clueless about technology like my grannies. So, I told them it’s pretty much like a journal, except it’s accessible by anyone and everyone around the world. I saw my grannies gasp in unison and then they asked me why the hell I would want my journal read by pretty the much the rest of the world. When your oldies ask you the same question, tell them…
2. Granny, I Meet Friends From Around the World Because of It
Tell them blogging introduced you to many people from around the world who share the same interest. It might be hard explaining that not all blogs are akin to personal journals, but unless you’re willing to spend the next X number of hours explaining, then you better stick to the basics. My grannies, however, didn’t look pleased when I told them I met quite a number of people through blogging. In fact, they look scandalized. They think I ought not to associate myself with strangers from the Internet. Why in the world, they ask, would I want to meet people from other countries when I can make friends with people from my own? Well, since all else failed, I told them…
3. Granny, It Earns Me Money
This one got them. Just imagine their surprise when I told them that one could earn money off the Internet! I do think I went too fast. Thinking about it, I shouldn’t have introduced them to blogging and told them it’s a possible way to earn money all on the same day. Perhaps I should have just left the money part for latter visits. However, I was out of any more explanations and changing the subject won’t do any good since both grannies were onto me like vultures are onto carrion. So, out of explanations, I told them this…
4. Granny, Blogging is a New Media Pretty Much like a Magazine
I don’t think my grannies really understood what I meant. But I told them that it’s comparable to a magazine, only, of course, different. I told them that it’s the media for the new generation and that it’s fun. And the conversation ended with that. Though how much they really got from everything I’ve said — I have no idea.
Not all oldies, however, are tech-illiterate. I know someone who’s almost seventy who still writes fan fiction for the internet. If you, however, have old folks who don’t understand what you do, try the tips above to explain — but only if they ask. If not, then save yourself the headache.
Yeah it is like a discussion board. It is neat. You need to be careful on what you post though. Don’t give out any information that you would want a weirdo to get.
There are hackers and other crazzies out there too!
If someone asks u for number do not give it!
It is like a discussin board that you can post like a diary entry. That is not hard to explain at all. Grannies understand the diary enty thing.
Best of luck to you!
Raj> Oh wow! It’s great to see the elder folks blogging, really. That just goes to show blogging isn’t just for the young.
Amy> The freelancing…happened to me again. My mom was talking to some neighbors from our old town earlier and when she told them I work at home as a freelancer, they…LAUGHED! LOL. BTW, it’s me, Mariella.
I still have to explain what “freelancing” is to most people who ask. I tried to tackle the topic of search engine optimization with someone who’d never used a search engine once. That was pretty painful. Don’t think I’m ready to try to explain blogging yet. If I ever have to, I’ll just print this out for them. 😉
I spent a few months convincing my father (nearly 80) to blog, and he wants to, about health topics. Of course, it helps that he is a (retired) math professor and has enough background to understand, not to mention experience as a writer/ researcher.
thebutler> Wow. I don’t think I can come up with a decent explanation for Ebay. Maybe I should liken it to a flea market, only high-tech.
Ahmed> That’s sure true. Well, I don’t even know if electricity was already existent during my grannies’ heyday, so tech stuff = no knowledge whatsoever.
precious-o> LOL! Hope your dad enjoys blogging. hahaha~
blocks….LOL. I can totally understand giving up. Honestly, I wouldn’t even bring up the topic if the oldies don’t ask.
Don’t be surprised if both grannies went home and decided to try their hand at blogging. I did such a good job explaining blogging to my dad, he decided to set up his own.
It helps if the person has a tech background, but otherwise it’s best to explain in terms of real-world metaphors like newspapers / magazines.
I’ve had a hard enough time trying to explain Ebay to folks. Explaining blogging to most people is rought. Sometimes people don’t even realize that the content that they are reading is on a blog.
I gave up explaining it to the old folks. My father in-law still pronounces it blocks.
His daughter and I are building blocks on the internet; well it’s all fine by me.