Blogger Bio: At 86 years young, Millie Garfield is one of the Internet’s oldest bloggers, according to The Ageless Project. With an authentic and humorous voice, its author’s knack for storytelling, and frequent updates, Millie’s blog, called My Mom’s Blog, shows that people want to hear from someone with a story to tell.
Millie was kind enough to do an email interview with us despite the oncoming specter of Hurricane Irene. A truly delightful lady, as readers of her blog are already aware.
How did you get started with blogging? What year was that?
MG: It was 2003 when I saw an article in The Boston Globe about blogging. I didn’t know what it was and asked my son Steve what it was, and, after he explained it to me, he asked, “Ma, would you like to have a blog?” I immediately said yes and, two weeks later, My Mom’s Blog was born!
How long have you been blogging now? And how long have you been using Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube?
MG: I’ve been blogging since 2003. First few months, I put up some small posts and when too much time elapsed, Steve would fill in with a little something.
I wasn’t getting much feedback and was disappointed. One day, I decided to make a post [that] said, “Is anyone out there? I’m a 78-year-old lady and would like to hear from you.” Well, that did the trick, that’s when I started to hear from readers!
I haven’t done much with Twitter. Steve and I make videos for YouTube. It might have started in 2005. On one of his visits, I told him about how I was having trouble opening up a jar of coffee, and the rest is history. That’s when the “I Can’t Open It” series was born.
I also have a YouTube site, “Millie’s Yiddish Class.” I love to speak Yiddish, so that’s a lot of fun for me. Wish I did more of those. I have a small group [that follows] me on that one. There’s a word for that kind of [group on] YouTube, but I can’t think what it is right now.
Flickr is Steve’s baby. He’s the one with the camera.
In the future, I plan to put up some old “I Can’t Open It” videos on G+.
What is your favorite thing about blogging and using social media? Are there any particular tools or programs you would recommend for older bloggers who are just getting started?
MG: First thing I would say to older bloggers would be: Start reading other blogs, see their style, see what would suit them, and go ahead and do it! You won’t break it!
In your time as a blogger, you’ve become quite entrenched in the online scene, to the point where you were invited to deliver the keynote at BlogHer. Would you tell our readers a bit about that experience? Were you surprised when they asked you?
MG: Arianna Huffington was the keynote speaker, I was one of a handful of other speakers asked to say my thing. Yes, I was very surprised and honored to speak. I didn’t realize at the time how important what I had to say would be… As a matter of fact, I didn’t think about [what] I was going to say too much in advance. It was maybe a day or two before the event that I decided what I was going to say. Just said how blogging was affecting my everyday life!
BlogHer turned out to a very memorable experience! After the session, I had reporters waiting in line to interview me. Later in the day, people were greeting me and saying, “Great to meet you, I read your blog all the time!” I felt like a real celebrity!
What are the largest advantages that blogging provides for seniors in particular?
MG: There are so many advantages. As seniors get older, their world gets smaller — they lose friends and family. Health limits what they can do.
They can visit their family via the Internet.
See the children and grandchildren on the Internet.
Visit with family via Skype.
Find friends through social media with similar interests.
Keep the mind working.
Keep informed by reading various sites.
What would you say are the three biggest lessons you’ve learned from your time as a blogger?
1. Be real — tell it like it is.
2. Post on a regular basis.
3. No long paragraphs.
Image by Steve Garfield, used by permission.