- By: Bruce Batti, Fresno Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman and President of JSA
I’m not exactly sure when it happened, all I know is that it has definitely transpired. Maybe it manifested itself when I refused to acknowledge Rap as a form of music. Or maybe it was when I opened a Twitter account and thought to myself, “great, what do I do next?”
But most assuredly, all a 57-year-old guy has to do to feel old is attempt to stay current on all the business communication tools in our brave, new world. LinkedIn, Twitter, eblasts, Webinars, Facebook, cell phones, email, texting – well, you get the picture. And I really wouldn’t complain if all these modern-day gadgets made me feel more connected, but mostly they make me feel nostalgic for the good old days. And by nostalgic, I mean I whine – a lot.
I started my first job in 1977 after graduating from Fresno State. It was in the marketing department at Gottschalk’s. (And yes, I’ve added the name Gottschalk’s to things that make me old.) Business communication tools for me then consisted of a manual Smith Corona typewriter and a little box called a telephone. It almost seems prehistoric now – like when my parents talked about a nickel loaf of bread and walking to school in the snow.
But a weird thing happened when you called people on that little black box. They usually answered. Or someone answered it for them and made sure they called you back. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. It was the single device that the business community used to communicate quickly, so folks really took it seriously.
Now the business telephone has given way to the cell phone, email, texting and a myriad of other (make air quotes with your hands here) “communication devices.” Which takes me about 2.5 days longer than a simple telephone call in 1977. I know it’s true because I used the calculator on my iPhone to figure it out.
And, if by the rare chance a live body answers their cell phone and I get to talk “real-time,” well, in this day of digital, hands-free, bluetooth technology, I can barely make out every third word in a conversation. So that gets me to wondering if I’m starting to lose my hearing and I think you know how that makes me feel.
Yeah, old and potentially deaf.
So, now I’m off to answer the 60 emails that have hit my inbox while I was writing this little article. Then I have to check Facebook to grab any messages. Ditto for Twitter and LinkedIn. But if I’m really, really lucky, this old, antiquated little black box on my desk will ring. Man, that would make my day.
BTW, I just figured out there’s one more thing that makes me feel old? Yep, writing articles about feeling old. <LOL>