What an age we live in; technology has opened up so many new opportunities for humanity. Can you image the Covid pandemic happening in the 1980s? Working from home would certainly be impossible for many trades, Google Classroom wouldn’t exist – and that could just damage a child’s learning even more than it already has – and if I offered to Zoom someone, they would look at me like I was mad. Some people still do that now, of course, but that’s anther story.
We have the ability to communicate and connect in 2021 in ways that we couldn’t possibly envisage in 1981 (the year of my birth); for the average person in an average home, we have spent most of our lives thinking our current levels of technology would only be available to science-fiction buffs. Fiction has become fact in so many ways.
I am nearly 40, and the development of technology has grown exponentially even within my lifetime. I am older than social media, broadband, and flat-screen televisions, and I don’t even consider myself very old. Ask my 10-year-old son, however, and he might tell you a different story.
When YouTube had started to take off, my pal Barbara and I started to record some content on dyspraxia; a neurological difference we both shared and wasn’t very well known. This was around 2011 or so, and we did a “talking heads” style discussion, which meant meeting up in person; I loved that, because Barbara and I had become great friends and enjoy sneaking out for a nice lunch at the same time for a good chat.
Times, however, change, and it became more difficult to meet up; other parts of our lives got in the way, and new content on our Youtube channel didn’t come easily because we couldn’t easily meet up. There was no easy answer to that one, we were well-meaning amateurs with no clever technology that enabled us to video call remotely.
But move forward a few years, and technology moved on again; podcasts started to become “a thing”. I started to listen to a number of different ones – Matt Fforde, Iain Dale and Jacqui Smith, The New Conspiracists, etc – and wondered what special tech they used to sound so good. I had no idea how to develop a podcast, and it never really occurred to me that I had anything interesting to say; I certainly didn’t want to do a podcast by myself, and if I could ever do a podcast with someone else, I’d need to rely on their technical skills to get it edited together – or rely on a third person who knew what the hell they were doing.
Well, what do you know; that’s precisely what has happened. I don’t pretend to have come up with the idea; it goes back to my old pal, Barbara. Why not continue our talking heads discussions, but over the internet and through a podcast? I had become a father, which limited my travel, and both of us continued to be busy in our lives; but we could make time for this idea. We decided to expand our discussions from just dyspraxia to dyspraxia and whatever else happens to interest us – including some humour, which was a big part of our YouTube videos.
But the technical side was still there; who would edit our words into a coherent whole? Thank heavens for Mark, that’s all I can say. Mark is Barbara’s other half, and he is a musician with a knowledge of editing and tech that makes him cleverer than me by far. He edits our podcasts together and gives us advice on how to improve; when he does, I always make sure I listen, because if there’s something I can do to improve in any part of my life, then I will always listen.
So I am now a podcaster as well as everything else; The Two Dyspraxics are back in business. I am forever grateful for technology in giving me more opportunities; I have made friends far afield because of it. Even Barbara and I would not have been friends if it hadn’t been for Facebook.
There are a lot of ethical issues when it comes to social media and tech of all kinds; I’ve even used devices from Huawai before, and Chinese companies aren’t in vogue in the West right now. We all have complicated relationships with Big Tech; do they keep our data secure? Can we trust all the people using these sites? Are our governments looking out for our best interests?
Well, they’re big questions, but we also need to consider the benefits of these sites and this tech; we were in a stronger position to deal with the isolation aspects of this pandemic because technology had hugely advanced in the past 20 years. Our morality might not have always developed in tandem, but I feel better for being able to stay in touch, share information, and be better-connected during periods of lockdown.
Podcasting lets me stay in touch with different opinions and interesting discussions; it also allows me to put my own voice out into the ether and share time with a friend of mine as well. It’s not all bad.