You never think it will happen to you and yours. You never think your friends will get old so fast. Not in an actual physical age kind of way, that is inevitable (but still surprising), but in a refusing to accept or understand anything new kind of way. At least when it comes to gadgets and such.

I remember when I was a child (born in ’66) there were still some older people around who didn’t use phones. Mostly old men and maybe they just didn’t want to be bothered but maybe they never accepted or found any use for them. My young little mind didn’t get it at all.

There are still plenty of pieces of technology that people, usually older people, don’t want to learn how to use or see no use for. VCRs and then DVD players are the first things to come to mind. We all had a parent, grandparent, or old auntie who had no clue how to use a VCR. When given one as a gift it sat there blinking 12:00 until she unplugged it and then it just sat there. Standard story throughout the 80s and 90’s.

Now with technology moving at an ever faster pace the age for saying, “What is that silly thing? Why do I need that?” is getting younger. The social networking web site MySpace has a distinct divide among my friends and acquaintances: most above thirty don’t use it most below thirty do. Not a hard and fast rule but a generality. And it’s more than “don’t use it” for the above thirties it’s “don’t understand what it is or why anyone would need it”. I was talking with some of my above thirty friends last weekend and all a few of them knew about MySpace was that it was dangerous. It’s the place criminals go to find their victims. Predators their prey. Yep, scary news stories was the extent of their knowledge.

It’s not even a youth culture thing. I’m not really interested in what the youth culture is up to. But I am interested new things and how they can be used to improve life. I like improvement.

No matter how I explained the site was for communicating with friends some one always said, “Why do I need to do that”? They had their old ways of communicating with friends and saw no reason for something new. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it or getting old and stuck in your ways. It can be a fine line.

E-Mail was adopted fairly quickly by my friends. Not at first. It took a couple of years. I think that had more to do with their jobs providing it rather than embracing a new form of communication. I wonder if most people had to get email on their own, for the first time, would they ever have? The mysteries of life.

The initial thing that made me notice new technology passing by my peers was the iSight camera. It is so cool. You plug it in to your Mac and you can talk to someone (or a few people) face to face. Friends my age said “Why would I need that”? It was pricey at $150 so that explains a lot of reluctance but those few that got it dug it. It really is the next step and the communication tool of the future. Even Dick Tracy changed from the “Two way wrist radio” to the “Two way wrist TV” decades ago. The iSight is now standard on iMacs and Mac Books so I’m guessing more people will dig it as they get new computers.

The web site Twitter was the “Why would I need that?” topic of discussion last weekend. Twitter is a social web site where you just post little snippets about what you are doing at that moment. Friends can keep track of what other friends are up to. That’s all it is. Keeping in touch. So when I explain this to someone and they say, “Why would I need that?” I am at a loss. A person’s mind has lost it’s plasticity when it can’t envision a new way of doing things. I could understand all this if it was coming from my traditionally anti-social friends (I can get a little anti-social myself y’know) but it is becoming the norm. I hear “Why would I need that?” way too much. And not in a reduce your footprint kind of way. That I could accept easier.

I’m also interested in being connected with the world. That’s what a lot of these new technologies offer. Except as a lot of people grow older they want to be less connected with the world. Life takes its toll. But that’s a whole other story.