Friday, 3 July 2015

A Rose by Any Other Name

Had an interesting 'debate' this week on Twitter with someone. As you do if your Twitter bio says you are 'old, loud & opinionated'. The ubiquitous Mumsnet were promoting Gransnet on the basis that grandparents & the over 50s needed to be encouraged to get online and once online, to follow and be part of the community. The arguee's point was that they were singling out people by their demographic not by need - I am not sure whether she had grandchildren herself and I was not convinced that she had a valid argument.

As you all know, not only am I a grandma and an older person (65 this month), I also fervently believe that you are never too old to be online (you can read my thoughts here). So, my question to the lady was: what's wrong with the name?

Mumsnet does exactly what it says on the tin. Should it dump the name because it might offend people who aren't mums? Is it lacking validity because it is singling out the maternal demographic? As far as older people go, there already exists sites for OAPs/Seniors/Elders you name it.

And if you type in a hashtag you will find every combination of pensioner site. Gransnet apart from being short and snappy, is a very useful way of suggesting subliminally that grandparents and older people can be part of the internet also.

Given the way all children are so tech-savvy almost from birth, and that many grandparents now help out with childcare as parents have to return to work and nurseries are so expensive, it is even more important for us to master Facebook, Twitter and whatever sites our grandchildren use.

I have no problem with categorizing the older demographic in this, or any other way. Look, if I had a physical or mental illness, was of any sexual or racial orientation whatsoever, believed in a religion, no religion, followed a sport or political ideology, I bet I'd find a Twitter group specifically for me. And there I'd find like minded people with whom I could share with and chat. We are all getting far too outraged about everything.
Gransnet - bring it on!






15 comments:

  1. Great post, Carol! I agree completely. This PC nonsense rears its head far too often sometimes! It will soon be an insult to call someone Human because we then aren't acknowledging the other DNA in our bodies and therefore disrespecting our ancestors...

    I hope you told the young lady in question that some grandmothers haven't quite reached 50 yet *sniff* ;-D

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  2. I'm slightly on the fence on this. I am also 65 soon and I love twitter, blogs, researching online etc but I really object to the government, banks & big organisations insisting that everyone should be computer literate. Why should everyone have to bank online and apply for their bus passes & rail cards via a computer. When I'm so old I've lost my marbles how will I remember all those passwords.

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    1. Oh, that aspect of it, I am in entire agreement! My campaign is to get people connected to people on Twitter/FB coz there are so many lovely and isolated elderly who'd probably love to have a quick chat online.

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  3. I'm happy to dip into Gransnet - and am not bothered at all by the name. It's what we are, after all - grandmas - so it works. And nobody makes anyone join. My only real grumble is the categorisation of everyone over 65 as the same - so may times we are presented with age categories and differences are recognised in everyone younger, but once we've reached 65 our needs and ideas are thought to stagnate. And the last thing I feel is stangnant!

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    1. YOU are anything but... on another tack..D feels that she is categorized as a ''mum'' and therefore not seen as an intelligent career woman (oh, shades of the 50's...have we not changed at all?).

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  4. My father-in-law is 88 and well ahead of the IT game. I'm 63 and constantly astounded at how much more computer-literate I am than my undergraduates. I "do" social media a lot but also stay "real". My husband is also 63 and not only still knows how to programme a computer but also knows how the physical bits work. I may be about to retire (but never from writing!) and may be about to become a professional grumpy old woman. Go social media for wrinklies!

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    1. I actually, at 2 years older than BH, know more about social media and computers than he does!!

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  5. I agree with Liz. My father is 86 and computer literate, but even then he still sometimes struggles with things like booking tickets or hotel rooms online, and Julia does it for him - what if he hadn't got her to do so? They make actually phoning to book something the weird option, that's often hidden away somewhere on the site where you can't see it! My other complaint about it is that the internet is one big data mining tool. My husband is massively against all this and has installed so many anti-cookie devices on my laptop that I can't use most sites, anyway, unless I do something else he showed me to enable me to do so. We don't all want to become part of this, especially not those of my father's age.

    I feel really sorry for people like my mother in law (age 70) who hasn't got a clue about all this stuff and is past the age where she wants to know about it; she can, and has, got herself into all kinds of difficulties by clicking the wrong buttons! Yes, she could learn, but it's beyond her capabilities to do so, as she doesn't understand the basic principles behind online life!! In answer to your original question - yes, I think things like Gransnet are a good idea!

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    1. I also agree with her. My focus was on the way people get aireated about things on social media for no valid reason...and, to take a step back, given the adnavce of all aspects of social media, to try to get those who can (yep there are plenty who can't) to overcome their reluctance and get online. It's very empowering to be able ( as I ddi) to install a widget on a blog (see right) that tells me who's visited. AND it stops older people being treated as if they were stupid by Bank employees ( WE have had this, and given them short shrift, as we understood what they were saying). There used to be lovely classes for older citizens to show them, slowly and gently, how to go online. I'm guessing the Govt has cut them. I've taught Pauline and others...just the basics...

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  6. ...terrific piece, m’Lady, Carol... this ol’ Jurassic here, bought his first ever laptop at the age of 61, and since then from a zero start got ‘immersed’ in the SOSYAL NETWURKIN as part of the 'business of writing’.... four novels and 80,000 downloads later, plus ‘Blogger of the Year Award ‘ kinda tells the disbelievers to go f&ck themselves.:):) LUVZYA!

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    1. Yep. I always read you stuff with a fake Glaswegian accent.....

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  7. Have a great friend of 85 who's completely computer savvy & loves to surf! Too many older people give up before they begin! Good post!

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    1. THanks Jacy. It is SO important to feel part of a community..any community. It is said that loneliness in the elderly is a killer! How awful to think of someone feeling lonely when they could go online and chat to people all over the world!

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  8. My grandma would have been 90 this year. Sadly, she passed away six years ago following a stroke. She was a savvy texter and always used the latest abbreviations when she messaged me. She would have adored FB and Pinterest. Interacting with her family and like-minded groups would have kept her going into her 100s!

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