“You are not going out with that boy unless his parents are driving and that's that. I'm not just Spitting Grits here, young lady!”

. . . My father, John Thomas Cravey, USAF, to me in 1956.

Who’s Your Grandma? Part II


ow do you know you’re old? How you feel? How you look? How you act? How many original teeth you have?

Look in the right-hand column under the category “Grandparents,” click on that link, and look back at the August 31 post for a grandparents’ profile and a poll.

One stat really bothers me: 13 percent of Americans are now over 65. By 2050 one of us in five will be over 65. What???? I don’t think so. Not a one of us will be over 65 then; we’ll all be over 115.

Wait. I think I misread that, not that the details make any difference.

Here’s one way you know you’re old: When you’ve had friends or have been married for longer than the Internet has been in existence. The Internet turned 40 this month on Sept. 2. On that date in 1969, some soon-to-be geeks sent some gobbledygook from one computer at UCLA to another computer at UCLA to test the Arpanet. Doesn’t sound like much, right? Well, it doesn’t sound like much being 65 these days – until you think about it. I’ve had some friends for more than 50 or 60 years. In a little less than two years, I’m scheduled to go to my 50th high school reunion.

It’s a bit more reassuring to know that it was another 21 years before the World Wide Web (the www. part of Internet addresses) was created, but not much. Then the really big event happened in July 1995: Amazon.com went online, and I ordered my first book that fall. I had ordered enough books by the next Christmas that they sent me a mouse pad with Amazon.com on it. I still have it.


From two Arpanet computers at UCLA to the Internet to the World Wide Web , all in 40 years. Image, about 1992, from An Atlas of Cyberspaces at: http://personalpages.manchester.ac.uk/staff/m.dodge/cybergeography/atlas/geographic.html

Knowing Where Your Grandkids Are

Seniors, male and female, ages 64 to 72, born 1937-45, according to the PEW Research Center, are known as the “Silent Generation”; those older are designated the “G.I. Generation.” The Silent portion makes up about 9 percent of the U.S. adult population (over 18). A little more than half of us (56 percent of the 9 percent of Silents) go online. But that’s not going to get it. If we’re going to know about our grandkids, we’d better become closer friends with the Internet/WWW. Here’s the skinny:

The Silent Generation makes up only about 7 percent of the total Internet-using population. That’s us, my peers.

Only 11 percent of that 7 percent of us go farther and use social networking sites, like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and others – not many of us.

We Silents go online to get answers to questions – like the side effects of our prescriptions – to bank, and to shop – a lot of those goods going to our zero to 17-year-old grandkids, I’ll bet.

Meanwhile. . .

About 95 percent of teen kids between 12 and 17 (who make up 20 percent of the adult population) are Internet on-liners.

Fully 65 percent of those teen on-liners use social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and others. And this virtual life is non-school hours.

Babies from zero to 11 are on-liners, even if there are no stats to prove it. They may be Twittering as we speak.

These stats are clear. If you, grandma and grandpa, want to know about your grandkids, get online, get social, get with it.

The Teens

The 12 to 17-year-olds are online to connect with friends and family and to play games. They connect with people through reading e-mail or instant messages or by creating blogs, like this one, and through the social networking sites. They are likely to have created a “profile” on these sites.

If you find out that your 7-year-old grandkid has a blog, let me know, since the stats are still out on them.

The Silents

So, how do we know if we’re old? The answer seems to lie in how we spend our days. Here’s how our day looks:

Nine out of ten of us talk to friends and family; eight in ten read a book or newspaper or magazine. Then those same eight go to their Sun-Mon-Tues-Wed-Thurs-Fri-Sat plastic pill container and take our medicines. Four of those ten take a nap.

And only one in four gets on the Internet.

I’ve taken the plunge, grandfriends, and you can too. I have profiles on Twitter and Facebook. I use the photo site Flickr, the video sites YouTube and Vimeo, and get music from iTunes. I get a lot of my news online.

Is this a great country, or what?

Twits, Twitterers, and Tweets

twitter_logo copy

The next few Spittin’ Grits posts will give a few lessons. We’ll start with Twitter. Look in the right-hand column of Spittin’ Grits, scroll down below “Labels” and look at “About the Blogette”; at the bottom of the “About,” you’ll see a link to my profile. Those are just examples of creating a profile, which you WILL do.

Show your Twits, join the Twitterers, and keep up with your grandkid’s Tweets. Breathe deep and go to the site: http://twitter.com.

Stop: Look back at that last sentence above. How many characters do you think it contains, with spaces? This is big. It has 132. Remember that. A Tweet is limited to only 140 characters and spaces.

Information about generational use of technology is available at: http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1093/generations-online.


I will be off for a few days. Posts will restart in about a week. Thanks for visiting, and please come back.

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