Friday, July 16, 2010

Now I Get It

Northern Bro:

The web is full of old fogey stories and here is mine.

I admit that I just don’t get Facebook or Youtube. Youtube is something that confuses the heck out of me. There are a few interesting things on it, and my Florida niece has steered me to some very funny clips that I enjoyed immensely. But when I go on myself I have never been able to navigate through the thing. Admittedly I haven’t spent a lot of time trying to figure it out, and there is a chance that with the investment of 15 minutes or so it’ll be clear as day. As it is, I point and click at random (since that is as good a method as any when you are hopelessly lost) and most often don’t end up with anything interesting. Not once have I come across something that is supposed to be ‘viral’ on Youtube, which makes me feel like an idiot.

Now you have to remember that during my formative years the big technological innovation in the area of communications was the touch button phone. No more waiting for the dial to rotate back to position after each number! Talk about convenience… And the big technological innovation in the area of electronic entertainment was color TV. My wife, who is a few years younger than I, lists VCRs as the technological innovation of her youth. Alas, I was already in college when those contraptions came out (and by the way, my first collect dorm room had ….. a rotary phone. I hear they come with internet access now).

Facebook I kind of understand, but not entirely. The entire phenomenon reminds me of the most excellent Thanksgiving eve contradance that Steve Zakon-Anderson hosts in Peterborough NH every year. When asked why he hosts this event on Thanksgiving eve he says (tongue in cheek) that it is for all the people who have come home for Thanksgiving and once they get home they start talking with the relatives and suddenly remember why they left. His dance gives them an excuse to get out of the house for a few hours. Facebook kind of reminds me of that. Through Facebook I have reconnected with many people whom I have drifted away from over the years. Through Facebook I am now reminded of why we drifted away from each other in the first place. I guess that serves a purpose.

Then this summer it all made sense. I was trying to sing the old Bing Crosby number ‘Swing from a Star’ for our 4 year old. And, lo and behold, I went to Youtube and found a clip of Bing himself singing it in ‘Going My Way’. What a treasure! Because of Youtube our daughter has watched not only Bing, but also Gene Kelly singin’in the rain, Donald O’Connor doing ‘Make ‘em Laugh’ and Fred Astaire in top hat and tails tapping and singing ‘Putting on the Ritz’. She enjoys them all and after many viewings has just about memorized ‘Make ‘em Laugh’. I couldn’t be prouder.

Now I get it.


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