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Is there a gap between those who are tech savvy and those who are not?

When I finished up my taxes online some months ago I laughed a little when I saw a button that said “If you do not have an email address, click here to get your tax receipt mailed to you.” I found it ironic because someone tech savvy enough to complete their taxes online would almost have to have something as basic as an email address.

I tried imagining the type of person who would have to click on that link. “Who in this day and age does not have an email address who uses the Internet?” I thought.

Although I’m embarrassed to admit, I couldn’t help but think of someone of an older generation. A thought persists that those who have not grown up around technology are somehow out of touch with the modern world. It seems everyone has a great aunt or uncle who refuses to go online, has been taken in by a phishing scam, or at least is still stuck using dial-up.

From my own experience I know plenty of recent retirees who have not only used computers during their careers but are more tech savvy than myself. So who would have to click on that link?

Not long after I asked this question did I receive a phone call from a long lost pal. We met up and reconnected, and despite the differences between gender, geography and race, the only time I felt disconnected from him was when he told me he could count on one hand how many times he had ever even been on the Internet.

Needless to say he did not have an email account. He was not over the age of retirement. He was not Amish. He had nothing against computers or technology. This person was 24. It blew my mind how someone my age had barely even surfed the Web, let alone been without an email address. Come to think of it, I think he was one of the last few in Generation Y who had a land line and no cell phone.

So I found examples of those close to me who had overthrown the statistics and stereotypes. When it came down to it age didn’t tie directly to one’s amount of tech-savviness or lack thereof, but I wondered whether being technological made someone more connected not just with society but with other people.

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I have a couple of friends like this -- my brother had an email address through hotmail that he checked so infrequently that Hotmail finally dumped him... and that was his primary email contact! Now he's in law school, and so he has an email through school. I sit here and wonder how people do it. I have my personal email through gmail that I stay connected to people with, I have my Yahoo! account that I've had since 1996 that I use for registering with web sites and companies, and I have MySpace email, work email, and email for my web site (which I admittedly don't check that often). But really, I don't know how you could use the Internet regularly and not have email. Also, I agree that being technological means that you're connected with society and people... and not being technologically savvy means that you likely are limited to local people for your connections/interactions. As a regular blog reader and MySpace stalker (just kidding, but ya know, I have friended all my old classmates), I feel a lot more in touch with the world around me than I could possibly feel with limited old technologies. I also have an interesting perspective, as I grew up in a household with no phone and no internet. That's right, no one could CALL ME until I was in college. So I know what it's like to be "off the grid" and lack connections... for a Type A personality: it sucks.