My Clerks Are Dragging Me Into To Modern World


The younger clerks at my antiques shop staged a revolt, tied me to a chair and forced me to learn social media. I mean, I have a Facebook account, but the 20-somethings don’t embrace that as much now that their parents and grandparents are spending their halcyon days connecting with “friends” they barely know and surreptitiously looking up old high school sweethearts.

No, my clerks told me that I need to stay current. They felt that bombarding iPhone drifters with photos of our merchandise was a better idea. They had all kinds of valid arguments about getting new people into the store, people who are meandering through Google as they enjoy a Sunday drive (hopefully not actually driving themselves).

As a person who gets annoyed by something as simple as an unsolicited advertising flier in the mail, I was skeptical. But they had put together a college-level presentation on why social media is an important marketing tool. They noted the 1.79 billion Facebook users, the popularity of Twitter among those with short attention spans, the numerous ways to share a single photo via Instagram, etc. So, I said OK.

They then patiently led me through the 115 fun steps needed to get up to date. Well, the first 75 steps happened when it was discovered that I accidentally have two Facebook accounts for the store, one with a zillion followers but no updates and the other one with 16 followers but all kinds of interesting facts and photos, largely unread. This, they told me, needed to be corrected.

They also tried to talk me into Twitter. I was on Twitter for a while, way back when Twittering was new, but keeping my rambling to 140 characters is next to impossible. I mean, I do need room for the punchline! And, unlike some, I don’t use it as my personal e-mail. I have e-mail for that.

Long story short — after working with the kids for three hours, I have a shiny new Instagram account that allows me to take pictures and send them out into the ionosphere for casual viewing by people I don’t know and probably never will. I can do this as often as I like! I can do this every minute of every day! I can do this until I get a blister on my “share” finger! Huzzah!

What I really learned today was that absolutely enormous chunks of time are being diverted from physical work in order to keep in touch with the outside world. Come to think of it, I now understand why I’m on hold so long, why the people I need to speak to are “in the back room,” why it takes forever for the diners at the restaurant to vacate their seats, why couples don’t look each other in the eye anymore, why “drive defensively” is my new mantra and why it is no longer possible for an Irishman to arrive in heaven half an hour before the devil knows he’s dead.

I’m exhausted and, now, some 1.79 billion people know it.