The Compleate Elder Blogger

Posted on September 25, 2010

It is almost 1:00 AM.  I have a raisin stuck in my keyboard and a mosquito as large as a drone pinging my monitor.  WordPress has just recovered from a crash.  I love this.

I had a bad fall this summer and my only concern as I hit the pavement: “Will my hands be OK”?  I would have gone head first if that would have saved them.  The hands are misshapen with arthritis and have that thumb joint making life impossible but there are bright spots.

The two young student borders I have at the moment asked me to order a free movie for them on dish network.  One marveled that I could type better than her mother; the other was jealous of my speed and that I was able to remember dashes and other characters.  They also admired my search strategies.  In short, before this day they were amazed I continued to breathe; today they are in awe that I have computer talent and an intellect.  I am “smug” as a bug.

My writing/research time is varied but tends to conform to hours others are not conscious – late at night or very early in the morning.  This conforms to the hours a lot of elderly types maintain.  It makes it easy for me to keep up with my fellow bloggers in Europe more easily. It also conforms to the hours my hard-working students keep during the academic year.

It took a while before I could work past my misconception that the net is populated with serious bloggers in an age range roughly 20-50.  In my rarefied age group, there are a few of us who admit to our real chronological status.  There is still that fear of being “outed” as an elder.

But a recent article clued me into the fact that as in so many other areas in life, we elders are coming at blogging when it is on the wane in younger age groups.  The rise in blogging is coming from middle aged and older Americans and is decreasing among teens and ages 20-30.  I found this out while reading an article with this passage:

When I blog these days, I feel like I should be sitting in a rocking chair, wearing a highly absorptive undergarment, and writing posts debunking some overhyped new bunion treatment (iPads?).

Yesterday I was out taking a walk and I happened to pass a group of tweens congregating on a street corner. I heard one of them say, “Hey, that guy’s a blogger,” and then they all started throwing their empty energy-drink cans at me. I had to take refuge in a Starbucks. I spent a half hour crying into my double-tall.

I hear that in middle schools “blogger” has become the most common term of abuse, playing roughly the same role that “wuss” used to play:

“You’re such a blogger, Derek.”

“You’re the blogger, Sean.”

“Am not.”

“Are too!”

Blogger jokes are turning into the new big thing on college campuses:

Q: How many bloggers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: Who cares?

Very funny. []

So just when I had theorized that the wonderful thing about the internet was that it had leveled the playing field, I found that most of the “in” and “with it” players had left the stadium.  I wasn’t really being accepted by the youth of America -or even being read by them.  I was in a middle age and elder backwater.

OK, so forget the landscape. The most important thing to an elder blogger – to any blogger:  the opportunity to write and do research and to be taken seriously in their efforts.  Locked into jobs in industry or elsewhere, it has been a long time in coming. It is a process that certainly keeps me hopping and engaged and getting up early or staying up late.

Writing is finally a passion.  I used to like it and long to be a writer but it was something other people did and did well – not I. So now I just do it – to hell with the gym!  To hell with the stats.  Sing, keyboard, sing.

Some References

*Oh, dear – I guess I took a wrong turn in my research.  Old age you know….