Emails are like whispered secrets when the lights are out at a pajama party…

agatha-christie (1)

Agatha Christie at work

I’ve kept a diary since 1956. (yeah – old enough to spell back then) and have warned my family that if they ever find them, please know I had a wonderful happy life, but tend to write only when I’m upset. This morning a friend who has been on a medically propelled roller coaster with her husband apologized for using our email exchange as a “venue to vent”.  And that got me thinking…

In my work leading older adults in English-speaking countries to overcome their fears of the Internet and email, I realize cyber-use can invoke harmful scams on the elderly. But I still think the good outweighs the bad. Today makes me realize  how many friends and family members I write to on the spur-of-the-moment — a thought, a fear, an idea! I think of how the unconnected 80-year-old in her apartment missed the immediate cyber community of mutual grieving after recent mass murders in Pittsburgh. And didn’t get an email or text from a grandchild asking “Are you OK?” or “I’m SO upset!”.

Emails are like whispered secrets when the lights are out at a pajama party…it’s one way communication until someone responds in asymmetrical time, and often we share thoughts and feelings with a keyboard that we might hold back face to face or phone.

So when dear friend apologized for “going on”  and [using her email] as a “venting venue” — while adding “But that’s what good friends are for”,  I saw so clearly that we could be there for one another — in a sudden spurt of truth. That one can pour out a thought at 2 in the morning to anyone else, anywhere. so long as they’re connected.

The other day, an elderly man who was tethered to an oxygen tank in a nursing home learned to use SKYPE for the first time. “Oh, man! I can do this with my kids!? I can see my kids all over the country??!!”  When asked how many grown children he had, he said “Twelve – I got 12 kids, and I’m gonna get one of these things [a tablet] so I can see them!!!”  He also learned to use email. Wonder if he’ll share his secret joys and sadness.

Yeah – venting venues are good places to go.

 

Author: Generations on Line

For love and admiration of our oldest generations, I stepped away from corporate life in 1999 to do something about the looming digital divide. today, having helped more than 100,000 elders to the Internet and email, that divide has only deepened and darkened as society goes paperless. Today, it is a true liability to be unconnected. today, we are hoping to help another 100,000 senior to digital inclusion.

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