ELDER MUSIC: Do the Reggay
A READER'S STORY: The World Is Such A Noisy Place

27 Percent of Elder Americans are NOT Online

There was barely a world wide web at all when I got my first computer in the late 1980s. No banks, no stores, no YouTube, not even any advertising and the phrase “social media” was years from being invented.

But among the few offerings were photographs of the Moscow subway stations. I can't find that original website now (with images that took several minutes to load on the dial-up connection we all used back then) but if you've never seen how beautiful those stations are, take a look here.

Later, I got lucky in terms being prepared for our digital future. A friend had convinced CBS News to give her a couple of millions dollars to build a website for the 1996 presidential election and she hired me as managing editor.

None of us knew how to build a website yet and there were no other news websites to help us get started. The closest was that CNN was building their first website too and we freely stole ideas from each others' sites.

Meanwhile, over the next year, our engineers, coders, graphics artists and the rest of us, made mistakes but we learned from one another how websites work and we even launched on time. Successfully too.

That was almost 25 years years ago and the web has since become essential to our daily lives. Personally, I bank by mail, pay bills, get automatic reminders of when they are due. Between in-person visits, all my communication with doctors and nurses is via the internet. The pharmacy let's me know when prescriptions are due for refill.

A growing number of physical stores no longer take cash for purchases and whether we like it or not – we won't be able to stop it – banks, employers and many others are checking our online presence before doing business with or hiring us.

Plus, many people work from home which is not possible without the internet, and for all of us, there is hardly a question known to humankind the web cannot answer.

(Please don't take that as a challenge.)

My point is that even if we are not quite there yet, more and more personal and other important business is done only online and that t