Both my sister Lynne and I have an intense aversion to self-promotion coupled with an intense need for recognition and celebrity. Maybe it's because our father, Bob Adams, was such a whore when it came to promoting his shows. And Mom was such a snob.
One summer Pop was presenting "Fanny" at his theatre, the Flint Musical Tent. Lynne and I begged him to help us tack the posters promoting it on our butts. Giggling, we wiggled our fannies all over Flint, Michigan. We must have been 6- and 8-years-old. When our mother saw us she went ballistic. She ripped them off of us and shouted about "class" and "dignity" and then turned on Pop. "How could you let your daughters do this?" "Let them! It was my idea," he bellowed. "Great publicity!"
The Internet is a powerful tool. It's great to be able to promote yourself while hiding behind the anonymity of technology. It's magic to connect with people without actually meeting them. But it does not come easily to me, to put it mildly. It's learning a new language and that's harder when you're over 60. And like everything that becomes harder with age -- it's scary. Recognizing your inadequacy in these areas can be a real slap in the face.
I'd been a beauty when I was young. I only knew it because I starred in some movies as a beauty. And because I had no confidence in my talent or intelligence, I relied on it. But as I matured into my 30s and got sober and started meditating, I became completely unglued when my movie stardom disintegrated. Then, as I entered my 40s with a great marriage and incredible children (and 25 MG of Celexa), I began to really feel centered and capable of navigating the muddy waters of life and the larger show business. In my 50s I still had that glow from feeling competent even though I was gradually becoming invisible. But now that I'm in my 60s I have never felt as stupid as I do when working the web.
Even Facebook (which all of my older friends assure me is easy), I can't seem to master. I can never remember how to get in and then once I'm in, I can't get out. And we know we need to take advantage of all these social media channels because we're promoting our new web series, "All Downhill from Here." WEB SERIES?! What are we -- nuts? Five years ago I hadn't heard of a web series. Naively I thought we could hire people to do all of the flogging, blogging and vlogging. But apparently it has to be you and you alone who tweets and posts because people respond to authenticity and they can tell when it isn't you. How? They don't even know me.
Honestly, it's not just the Internet, it's all things technology. I can't figure out how to use my Bluetooth for the phone in the car. I can't listen to music because our fancy stereo system is beyond me. When Tony leaves town I can't even turn on the television. It's a miracle that we're getting as far as we are with our web series. We're making it, posting it and we're starting to get an audience. It's frustrating, time-consuming, and above all, humbling. I have to keep reminding myself, it's not the destination, it's the journey. And if I can keep my sense of humor, and not let the feelings of uselessness and invisibility overwhelm me, getting old and obsolete can be really funny. Watch "All Downhill From Here" and you'll see for yourself. We are posting the fifth episode on YouTube.
Or go to our website and see the first four episodes too.
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See? I'm getting the hang of this self-promotion thing!