[IMPORTANT NOTICE: Friday 19 October in the northern hemisphere is the day to post your greetings for Olive Riley's 108th birthday and I hope everyone will join in to help make it a joyous blogosphere bash for Olive. There is more information about the celebration and how to take part here.]
Following Monday’s snit, Crabby Old Lady was content to sit back in her rocker for awhile. That is, until Madame Levy of La Vache Qui Lit alerted her to an offensive blog post.
Ageism in general and age discrimination, particularly in the technology industry, are so commonplace and such an old story that Crabby Old Lady doesn’t bother to comment on them much anymore. But when it comes from an uber-geek who some consider a person of influence in the tech world, one who boasts he has reached the limit (5,000) of the allowed number of "friends" on Facebook, Crabby must speak up.
Robert Scoble, who at 42 cannot be considered in the bloom of youth, blogs at the eponymous Scobleizer. On Sunday, he recounted his visit to a block party where he met some of his neighbors for the first time.
"Most of the people in my neighborhood are older. In their 60s and 70s,” writes Scoble. “…it was interesting trying to explain what I do. 'I have an Internet video show.' No, not a porn show. Heh!
"Some of my neighbors couldn’t quite rap (sic) their heads around the fact that I could send video of them around the world from my cell phone. They had heard of Facebook or MySpace but I had to explain over and over how Kyte worked. They acted like they had met someone from the future."
Before she goes on, Crabby Old Lady wants you to know that it is likely Mr. Scoble would be just another blogger among millions except for three years he spent at Microsoft as a “technology evangelist” which gave him enough Silicon Valley street cred to be considered a member of the technorati with a blog The Economist reports is read “religiously” by geeks.
Geeks are almost by definition 20-somethings, and this is the condescending claptrap Scoble gives them to read about elders:
“...I shouldn’t make all my neighbors sound like Luddites. They are very educated and well traveled people who’ve done interesting things with their lives but it’s interesting to see just how far ahead those of us who live in the tech echo chamber are. One common thing? They all have heard about Facebook and are wondering what they’d do on it. It really pisses me off I can’t add them to Facebook. So, I told them to sign up for Twitter instead and I’d answer their questions there.”
Right - answer their questions in 140 characters or fewer. The entire post reeks of such superciliousness. Scoble was at Gnomedex this year, but Crabby thinks he must have blown off her presentation about elders and technology which was received by others, some much younger than Scoble, with enthusiasm and who, Crabby doubts, would be capable of writing anything as patronizing.
According to Wikipedia, Scoble learned computers literally from the inside out at his mother’s knee. It’s no big deal to be “far ahead” of unanointed elders when you were practically born with a mouse in your hand. Teaching oneself computing from scratch with no one to help and succeeding, as so many elders Crabby Old Lady knows have done – now that’s an achievement.
Crabby wonders what Scoble’s are, and if it has occurred to him that Facebook, MySpace and Kyte are only this year's web buzzwords to be left behind by something new or better next year. They are hardly requirements for being technology literate and certainly not a reason to assign a sense of superiority such as his to oneself.
Not that Crabby Old Lady is going soft in her old age, but for a moment she considered that youth - and Mr. Scoble - should be forgiven their lapses in light of the ageist culture they grow up in. Then she remembered that Scoble is 42, old enough to have gotten over himself.
[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Pat Temis continues the story of the saga related to buying a home in Turkey in Part 2 of A Dönüm Will Do.]