My best friend Andy’s grandparents live in rural Kansas. Whenever we go to visit, we participate in all of the wonderful things that rural life brings. We chase snakes, post targets on trees and shoot at them with pistols, throw fruit at signs while trying to slice it down the middle, ride around in a pickup truck with a rifle and go prairie dog hunting, bake pies, and eat a lot. His grandparents are my surrogate grandparents. They have lived in rural Kansas and Oklahoma their entire lives. Their small town has more churches than any other business and everything closes around 8 pm.
The last time we went to visit was for Thanksgiving in 2013. We drove the six hours from Denver to a small town outside of Hayes, Kansas. When we arrived, we expected to sit down with Grandma and chitchat until they went to bed. Instead, we arrived and she ran out with a brand new Ipad that Grandpa had given to her for her birthday. She had no idea how to use it but was read for us ‘youngsters’ to teach her.
Grandma still worked a few days a week to keep her mind occupied. She worked for a law firm and was intrigued that they started marketing their firm online. She had learned about SEO and how that benefited the law firm’s marketing campaign. She also gave input on the law firm’s new website and was able to give advice on the attorney’s page designs and layout.
With all of these new innovated ways that her law firm was learning how to market themselves, even in a small town where everybody knew everyone’s names, Grandma was excited to get into the digital era. She sat Andy and I down at the table and opened up her Ipad. We showed her how to login to her new Wifi that Grandpa had set up upon buying the Ipad. Once logged in, she learned how to access the web. First, we had her find her law firm’s website so she could view each attorney’s page and learn how to go back to the main Google search page. We thought that would wear her out and she would want to learn more in the morning so we closed the Ipad. But Grandma wasn’t done learning.
A few hours later, we had set Grandma up with a new Gmail account, a new Facebook page, complete with pictures, and she was navigating the web like a pro. Of course, most of the weekend was filled with family, laughter and eating, but I was impressed that Grandma had found the time to go digital and learn about social media and website design during the weekend. Upon going home, a few months later, I happened to be on my personal Facebook page when I got a notification that Grandma had ‘poked’ me. She sent me a Facebook message a few weeks later and was excited to learn more about the web and what she could use her Ipad for the next time that my friend Andy and I came for a visit. She also mentioned that she would have a pie waiting for us.