Reality Check

05Nov08

So I had a bit of a reality check today. I received a note to call the office manager of one of my lapsed members to discuss how we can get this member reinstated and in good standing before the upcoming convention. I called and talked to her about downloading the application online and things got a little silent…

She really didn’t know what I was talking about. She didn’t know what I meant about downloading an application. She said “I’m not good with the internet.”

I’m not used to having to fax things because normally the people I talk to can download something as I talk to them on the phone. The internet makes it possible for the member (or prospective member) to take their involvement into their own hands. They can get what they need and as a membership professional I’m here to guide when needed.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I shouldn’t forget that not everyone uses the internet. My grandmother may be addicted to email, but that doesn’t mean that all people use the internet as a way to communicate.

I remember when my grandparents first discovered AOL and thought it was amazing that they could have an online calendar and send messages to people over the internet instead of calling them on the phone or writing them a letter. They used to corner me whenever I was over to show them how to use something with their computer. Over the years they have become more comfortable and the questions have become less and less. They are now venturing out on their own.

What I need to remember is not everyone is as comfortable with computers as I am. My soon to be former boss still uses WordPerfect and would prefer I print out documents I want his thoughts on than email them to him. Some people are still attached to paper and in some ways I am too. When working on a script, I need it in front of me. I just can’t read it online, I need to have a hard copy. I need it in my hands. Also, I prefer to print out ebooks (gasp! how ungreen of me). The reason I do this is so I can write my own comments in my own hand right on the document itself.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is even if you use online as a primary source of communication, it doesn’t mean that everyone else is.

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