Recently, Christina Binkley reviewed Pamela Redmond Satran’s “How Not to Act Old: 185 Ways to Pass for Phat, Sick, Hot, Dope, Awesome, or at Least Not Totally Lame” in the Wall Street Journal.
“I hadn’t realized that texting with one’s index finger is a sign of age,” she notes. “It also hadn’t dawned on me that it was possible to ‘Facebook old’ (or even to use Facebook as a verb).”
I’d argue that she’s conflating two different issues – one of age, but the other of technology immersion.
For example? I am not a 23-year-old hipster. So I don’t use “phat” or “sick” or “dope”. Because it’d sound ridiculous. * ** So yes, some things are age-specific, or at least lifestyle-specific.
But if you can’t use technology smoothly, while that often does come with being older, I don’t think it’s causal. You don’t automatically age out of modern communication. Social media is not Menudo.
For an extremely awesome example, check out this lady – Marjorie Loyd, 98, on Facebook. And one of the most knowledgeable people I know about social media is my thesis advisor, Fordham graduate school dean and TV addict, Paul Levinson – who, while many decades short of “old”, is at least definitely not a 23-year-old hipster.
So yeah. “Too old” isn’t a reason. It’s an excuse. If you’re not bothering to stay current, it’s not your age, it’s your choice.
* Um, also because “phat” hasn’t been cool for, like, a million years.
**And yes, Jillian, I know it’s not “hipsters,” it’s “members of the downtown art scene”.