[In response to Elsie King’s post on Website building, fellow writer, Mary McDee shares her insights on the challenges of technology.
I have abbreviated this Shakespearean quote somewhat, out of respect for space…and cats. Especially ones who get caught up in webs as my cat Storm has the habit of doing. ~ Website Editor—Lee-Anne Marie Kling]
Thoughts on Website Building
I don’t know about you but, as an acclaimed techno klutz, I found last week’s blog “Building a Website” totally fascinating, easy to follow and, I must admit, thought provoking.
I admire Elsie King’s honesty in addressing her difficulties and the downsides of her ‘adventure’. Publicly admitting to being ‘technologically challenged’ does not go down at all well with many in this day and age as I well know!
There is absolutely no doubt that computers, indeed the whole current techno world of today, has brought many advantages with it: made life easier, more efficient and, in many instances, much faster. I’m also sure we’re all well aware of the pestilential problem of hackers – a major downside of the current techno revolution.
To my mind however, this business of hackers is far from being the only downside of our brave new world. Let me explain by telling you of the revelation re computers that hit me a few years ago.
At the time I was coming to the end of a Permaculture Design Course I’d been doing for quite some time and was thoroughly enjoying. It was assessment time! This involved working with a partner or small group to develop; then present to the whole group an actual practical design based on our own real life situation that had brought us to being part of that course.
I live on a very steep, small acreage in the Adelaide Hills. Two others also lived on hills acreages so we three linked up and decided to work on a plan for the other woman’s land as her place seemed the simplest and most straight forward. We got on well together and quickly decided to present a series of maps illustrating the steps we felt would be the best way to develop her land. We also felt this would be most effectively presented as a series of overlays, one on top of the other; building up from the basic fenced-paddock-with-a-house (where she was currently living) to her dream of self-sufficiency.
We thought this was a great idea and felt very chuffed with ourselves. So we set about implementing it.
My partners were both computer literate and tech savvy so automatically began developing the required maps and sorting things out so each map, at the press of a button, would become superimposed on its predecessor.
And this was where the rot set in!!
They spent hours on the problem but all to no avail. I’ve no doubt that any kid of today with a modern laptop would do it in a flash with little or no difficulty. But this was a number of years ago and computers have come a long way since then.
At first I was simply a fascinated spectator; unable to contribute anything useful. But slowly I became more and more fed up with all the hours of unproductive discussion and experimentation. I did hold my tongue though. Eventually they had to give up; stymied and frustrated. We’d have to come up with some other way of presenting. And time was running out.
It was then I remembered we’d been told there was a wide range of equipment available for us to use including an overhead projector. As an ex-Primary school teacher I was very familiar with these things and as soon as I explained how it could solve our problem my two partners leapt on board: — using transparencies, we were able to present as we had planned. And we received enthusiastic congratulations from those running the course – I maybe wrong but I got the feeling they were a tad relieved to see something other than a computer production!
Anyway, to go back to the beginning and why I have been telling you this seemingly irrelevant tale. It seems to me that we are not looking beyond computers to solve all our problems; to run our lives; to communicate with all and sundry… We are losing many skills and techniques that used to be second nature; losing flexibility; losing touch with the real world with all its messiness.
As you are reading these blogs you are no doubt a writer so you will be very computer competent; familiar with Facebook and tweeting and emails and… Maybe even have your own website; maybe publish your work through Amazon…
But there are other ways of publishing your work. Google is not the only research tool available to us. Computer editing programmes have a place but they are, of necessity, run-of-the-mill. There is no room for creativity; original thinking; an unusual juxtapositioning of words…
By way of reinforcing the point I’m making: my computer doesn’t recognize that ‘juxta…’ word; has underlined it with squiggly red as if to insist I replace it with something more mundane. But I’m not going to – my big, two volume Oxford dictionary lists that word along with its meaning and a couple of other permutations of it.
Let’s not lose variety and richness; the things that have served us well in times past. Please.
© Mary McDee 2023
Feature Photo: Storm caught in the WWW © L.M. Kling 2023