I remember telling my parents about the Internet back in the early 1990s. I had a PC laptop with America Online on it, and I showed him how to "get online" and how email worked.
"I don't get it," he told me back then. "I just can't see a use for it."
At the time, my only argument for the value of the Internet was that he could stay in touch with his daughters because we both had email.
Fast forward to today. My Dad appreciates the emails and photographs my sister and I share with him through email, especially now that he has a granddaughter. But email isn't the only thing he uses. He's been teaching algebra classes online for several years through the University of Phoenix.
Now he understands that the Internet is not only for communications but can be a way to earn money.
Getting Dad All Social
More recently, I've been getting my Dad into social media. My sister and I - along with a number of our relatives - convinced him to join Facebook. He was stymied by status updates, not knowing how to use them or why people bothered to communicate what seemed to be random and superfluous things.
Then I directed him to LinkedIn because I thought he'd benefit from the professional networking site. After letting his account languish for months, he finally dove in and updated his resume to fill out his profile. He also began locating and contacting business colleagues to connect.
Next, I told him he should blog, but after thinking about it further, I realized that my Dad would be a great podcaster. One of his passions is public speaking and teaching so I felt that recording podcasts might be a logical extension of that. He uploaded his first podcast via Utterli by simply calling a telephone number, speaking into the phone, and hanging up. Utterli automatically uploads and distributes the recorded call. Instant podcast!
I built a blog for him on Blogger.com to showcase his podcasts but also allow him to blog if he felt like it.
Finally, I created a Twitter page for him.
I'm still waiting to hear what he thinks of his Twitter page. I'm hoping I haven't overwhelmed him with all of these Web tools. Speaking with him, I believe he is understanding the value of being connected and of publishing content to build his personal brand. Or maybe I've just blown his mind!
Have you gotten YOUR parents online? How is that working out?