The minute someone over 55 sees a gray hair, a wrinkle, a dark spot, or even a dimple someplace on their body where they have not seen it before, they want to cover it up immediately. Why is it not the same way with their tech habits?
Many of the nearly 80 million baby boomers (many of them have turned 65 this year) and older seniors are exposing their tech naivety on almost a daily basis. I am not saying that this pertains to every senior person, but it certainly does to many. I make my fair share of mistakes too, but I have a group of young techies around me constantly that point out my blunders every chance they get.
I wanted to address these fairly simple errors because if we correct them on a united front, then maybe we can achieve the respect we deserve. As Mashable, one of the best tech blogs, recently pointed out, “As boomers confront old age,” they will certainly defy what we think it means to “get old.” It will challenge us to rethink how we use the web and how we engage older people with newer technologies.
Here is a list of absolute no no’s:
- Do not copy your entire email list in the “To” space. That is what “Bcc” is for. If you are sending out an email to multiple people who do not know each other, you must blind copy. Most people do not want their email exposed to strangers. I recently received an email with Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer and Arianna Huffington copied on it. Do you really think those gals want me to have their email address? Ha! Don’t answer that.
- Just because you are retired and have nothing else to do, don’t send out jokes several times a day, every day, with the subject, “I usually don’t send out jokes but this one is really funny.” Chances are someone else sent around those jokes already. I have to clear out my inbox everyday from a certain someone who used to be the CEO of a major company. He sends out about 20 to 30 jokes a day, even on high holy days. I don’t have the heart to tell him to stop because he is such a wonderful guy. I picture him sitting at his computer day and night with his trigger finger ready to go.
- The one that makes you look like you died or just faded away is your Facebook page without your picture. Many seniors want to join the world of social media, but just want to test it. Either you jump in and engage, or delete your account. You look like you are missing in action. Some older people have told me that they only joined so they can follow their grandchildren. Bad move. If they find out that is your main purpose, they know how to de-friend you and you will not know the difference.
- Please don’t tell people you don’t check your emails on a frequent basis even if it is true. You sound like you are telling them you don’t take a shower every day. The Internet is all about instantaneous access. You should be checking your email everyday or several times a day. To those that say “but no one emails me so why should I be checking.” I answer no one is sending you a check everyday, yet you wait for the mailman like it is your last meal.
- When someone sends you and others an email don’t “reply to all” unless your message is that important that others have to see it. There is nothing worse than 10 people saying “You’re welcome” to the same person. I make the same mistake when I get a text from my brother because the multiple names are hidden. My nephew Sam is always looking out for me, letting me know the faux pas I committed. I am much sharper about my responses now.
- This is the worst and I want to scream bloody murder when someone forwards an email to me with pages and pages of lists of email addresses that have received the message already. Why aren’t you cutting and pasting? All you have to do is “forward” and delete the names of people who were previously copied. Why is it my responsibility to search through pages and pages of email addresses before I get to the content that you wanted me to read? Honestly, I just delete these emails. I can’t be bothered anymore.
I hope I am being helpful. To quote Mashable, “The Boomer generation isn’t just big—it’s made up of people who think and act differently than previous generations.” This means we are suave, sophisticated and savvy. We have a reputation to uphold.
Here’s a haiku you can send to anyone who should have used the bcc option:
My email address
Exposed to all on your list
Protect me next time
7. START NEW EMAIL CHAINS WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW TOPIC. I hate when people are lazy and reply to an email chain about one thing and turn it into something totally different. It’s confusing enough with the amount of email I have coming in each day to navigate thru my inbox… don’t make me dig deeper.