Two little anecdotes, involving my retirement-age aunts, illustrate the mainstreaming of new technologies.
Aunt #1 instant messages me. She needs to know contact information for a certain realtor in a certain Central Texas town. Instinctively, she knows she can find this information online, but she’s not sure where to start. I recommend local.yahoo.com or local.google.com. She’s got her answer within seconds. First result, too.
Aunt #2 is preparing for the approach of Hurricane Rita. Her son has told her she needs to investigate this thing called text messaging, because he’s heard texting worked when voice cell phone calls didn’t, post-Katrina. Without too much trouble, she noses around the menu of her mobile phone and manages to send a message. Receiving was a little more difficult. She heard the beeping but didn’t know where to look for the message. By the next day, she’s figured that out, too, and is texting with confidence while stuck in traffic fleeing the storm. (BTW, she and the rest of my family weathered the storm just fine. Everyone in my clan has even got electricity back, I believe.)