1984, besides being the title of a once futuristic book by George Orwell, is the year I matriculated college. Thanks to the generosity of my parents and the technological acumen of Steve Jobs, I received a brand new 128 K Macintosh computer complete with floppy disk drive. What seventeen-year-old kid from western Massachusetts wouldn’t have been thrilled? Cutting open that gigantic, white box and carefully lifting out the Styrofoam-encrusted tan-colored computer, mouse and keyboard with the curlicue cord was one of the most promise-laden moments in my seventeen-year-old life.
Looking back, I became pretty attached to that rectangular plastic box of chips and gizmos. Not only was my Mac cute, it was user-friendly like a little R2D2 buddy. My first Mac spared many a professor my atrocious handwriting. More importantly, it prepared me for the current Internet age. And thank goodness for that.
While many people avoid computers most of the time, writers and authors cannot afford such luxuries. Besides, who would want to miss out on all that the Internet has to offer? It is not only a powerful tool for distributing content, sharing ideas, and promoting visibility, it’s also just plain fun to explore and diddle around with new technology. Today I’ve become a writer who can: build a website, manage a blog and distribute an e-zine without a floppy disk drive in sight.
I’m typically a late adopter, allowing others to work the bugs out and prove or disprove the worthiness of the latest, greatest technological advances. But, I stay current with what’s going on online and stay abreast of the latest technological breakthroughs and what they mean to me as a professional communicator. In the meantime, I meet people online every day I would not otherwise meet. I use the World Wide Web to spread the word about my books and classes. I catch up on my friends’ and former students’ lives via their blogs. I keep in closer touch with friends and family thanks to email.
And while I would be the first to admit that there is a lot more to life than the Internet, I would be hard-pressed to imagine my life without it. Today, we are a four-Mac family. My daughter plays on PBSkids.org on the old eMac for limited amounts of time. My husband swears he didn’t twist the screen off of my old iBook (even though I know he did). I still gave him the free iPod that accompanied my purchase of “Mabel,” my new laptop. For the majority of my workday, I sit at the desktop iMac in my home office much the same way I used to sit in my college dorm room tapping away on my first Mac’s keyboard twenty-four years ago.
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for getting me my first Mac. And thank you, Steve Jobs. If I had to use a PC, life just wouldn’t be the same.
Christina Katz, author of Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids, is working on her second book for Writer’s Digest Books, Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform (now available for pre-order at Amazon!). She has also written over two hundred articles for magazines, newspapers, and online publications and has appeared on Good Morning America. Christina is a popular writing instructor who has taught hundreds of writers over the past seven years. She blogs daily at The Writer Mama Riffs and is publisher and editor of two zines, Writers on the Rise and The Writer Mama. More at http://www.thewritermama.com/.