If it makes me happy…

ODP Wigan 5

I’ve just had a lovely chat with a gentleman (who told me he was 85) who came into the Our Digital Planet Internet Station to tell me that new technologies and the internet are all a con.

He proudly stated “I am firmly a man of the 1950s, and that’s how I want to live my life”. He believes that all modern gadgets are part of a process of convincing people to buy things they don’t need. “I’ve seen them walking about with these biscuits” he said (meaning tablets)… “what’s all that about?”. He said he is content with his view that he has had his life and the modern world has nothing to offer him. I told him that made me sad, but he said he has been happy, and sadness has no part in his life. He doesn’t get lonely and is content with his own company.

And then he pulled out his mobile phone, which is pre-programmed with the work and home numbers of his daughter and that of a taxi company. “This is the only new technology I have, and it does those 3 things for me,” he said.

We had to agree to differ, and this was one that got away. But, if he is happy, who am I to ask him to change?


2 thoughts on “If it makes me happy…

  1. Only problem is – he might not have that choice very soon.

    I know of someone that has lost the chance of downsizing their house and saving imposition of the bedroom tax because relatives refused to engage with the digital systems that the HA required them to use if they wanted to ‘bid’ for the smaller house. And they only found that out after the house had been allocated to someone else.

    I am of the opinion that most people think they will still have a choice about whether or not to engage with digital tools – but taking the choice not to will soon be one that places an individual at a distinct disadvantage. I’m not saying this is a mark of progress – I don’t think it is – but it is going to be the reality of the situation. Like cheques will soon be disappearing, systems will change and so people will have to let go and change with them.

  2. I remember, about a decade ago, trying to persuade some people in the local authority where I worked at the time that older people, and those who are housebound (including at least some in residential and care homes, and in hospital) would benefit from access to a laptop. A few people were of the same mind. I put together a CD of digitised old photographs that showed some of the streets in each neighbourhood in the city so they could try it out and I’m told people liked seeing the pictures. The advantage of the digitised images was being able to zoom in on details – and alter the brightness and contrast if needed.
    Skyping distant relatives can be a very good enticement, I’ve noticed. I remember when I was a child, my gran wished for “a video-phone” so she could see us when talking to us. She would have loved video-conferencing & Hangouts!

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