Never too old to use technology 8



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I first got into technology as a practicing graphic designer many years ago when I was working in Hong Kong. Using a computer for designing publications and annual reports made life much easier but also brought more stress and difficulties.

On one side the middleman was cut out altogether and the typesetter was soon redundant, however the responsibility was now on the designer to format and design text. It became difficult because once clients realised this it meant there was no end to changes and corrections.

Coming to Australia and working in publishing meant that I had to keep up with the constant changes and upgrades to software and had to keep abreast – I wasn’t a stranger to technology, but became a slave to it.

During my years at TAFE, working in education meant it was inevitable that keeping records, monitoring progress including teaching design online relied very heavily on the ever changing world of technology. It was a far cry from the past world of telex and fax to the present glut of emails, instant messaging and selfies.

I got into social media mainly to keep in touch with an ever increasing circle of friends worldwide and it was lovely to see and read of who was doing what and where. Yes, I got sucked into Facebook. The novelty though has since worn off!

Four years ago, I applied online for Masterchef Australia. As an avid fan of cooking shows and a very keen amateur cook I decided to try for it at the insistence of friends and family – not knowing what lay ahead.

I got through the auditions, into the top 50, then the top 24 and the rest, as they say, is history. One of the conditions of the show was that we were isolated from the public and family and also kept way from all forms of media, including social media. As almost all the contestants are young, social media was a big part of their lives and as we know most young people have a smart phone permanently attached to their palms. Because we lived in isolation in a heavily controlled Masterchef world we had no idea of public opinion and the public reaction to the show. It only surfaced on the few production breaks when we were allowed home.

I was informed that there were a few Facebook fan sites in my name and was then included in a small group who had very little knowledge of social media or how to use it and taught how to manage it effectively – until then I had absolutely no idea of the power of the media. The following year I was invited to be part of Masterchef All Stars, and was then introduced to the worlds of Twitter and Instagram. I was able to get a couple of FB fan pages shut down and got management rights to the two remaining in my name and my official fan site. They were kept on as it was publicity for the show.

I have had almost no negative experiences with the use of social media – there have been a couple of crazies, but you learn how to deal with these – a delete button has its uses!

On the positive side though it has had many benefits, and one soon learns what to post and what not to – the best way of learning is by making mistakes. The year I got into Twitter I was holidaying in England, and made the mistake of tweeting to a friend about my travel plans around the country. This was picked up by a fan who got in touch and asked if I would do a cooking demo in the part of the country I was visiting.

One thing led to another and before I knew it an event was organised, a poster was designed and I got to cook with the freshest seafood from England’s South West, and had a great evening. All because I mistakenly didn’t send a direct message but put it on the public domain.

I have been able to make contact with long lost friends, and make many more new ones, and have had many work opportunities both in Australia and overseas. Yes, but even though I have benefited from social media, I am now very cautious about what I post and to whom and where.

I now post regularly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and update my website regularly. Yes it is a lot of work but I know and realise that it is only as difficult as I want it to be and I can choose how much I want to put out, the power is in my fingertips.


How did you first get into social media? How has it change your life? What have your learnt from it? Tell us below.

Kumar Pereira

Born in Sri Lanka, Kumar studied typographic design at the London College of Printing. After working in London he lived in Hong Kong for 18 years. He left Hong Kong for Australia in 1988 and lives and works in Sydney. He has worked in publishing in Sydney before joining Sydney Institute, TAFE NSW Design Centre, Enmore where he was Senior Head Teacher Graphic design, until 2007. In 2011 he was a contestant in MasterChef Australia, series 3 where he made it to the top 12. In 2012 he was part of MasterChef All Stars. In addition to design and cooking his interests include gardening, walking and illustration and travel. His Book ‘Kumar’s Family Cookbook’ was published by Allen & Unwin, Australia in May 2013 and is available in Australia and internationally. ‘Paletteables’ a set of 6 illustrated cards with cooking suggestions was published in March 2014 and is available at select stores and online;

  1. Yes once upon a time I could only turn the computer on and off…but now I’m a little dangerous!! I can do all of that…and more!! Wow!! modern technology.I can tap into U tube and do free online Guitar Lessons, listen to cool music, watch programs on demand,Scan doco’s/pic’s etc, and Email them to whom ever…not bad ah!! for someone coming from the old school,(but spelling is the bad thing….) but hey you can’t be to perfect..

  2. So many years ago when computers began creeping into schools I rejoiced in the fact that I would never have to learn to use one of these complicated pieces of technology. Twenty five years later I have become more and more dependent on these machines which have allowed me to write books, design apps and keep in touch. Wow!

  3. Really enjoyed reading Kumar’s story. In my working days, as I was a typist I had a lot to do with computers and various software, and I still continue to use the computer at home. I have friends and family interstate and overseas and it is great to keep in touch via Facebook and emails. Sometimes I use Skype and have face to face conversations. I, like many others, would be lost without a computer.

  4. it is a great social link. I love facetime for keeping in touch with family overseas. i have been able to renew many old friendships and make new ones.

  5. Great for keeping in touch with family and friends and reading what others are doing. Makes you feel as though you are not alone. Hated it at first but love it all now.

  6. Without modern tech esp the Internet people living in rural areas would have no choice but to move to the big smoke, what with the withdrawal of ALL state, federal and local govt services people in my town in the Mallee would be forced to travel a minimum of 75 km for even the most basic of services. The Internet at least allows us some contact with govt departments and allow us to do online shopping our nearest Kmart is 200 km away as is Big W. Sorry we do have one state govt service, a single police officer who is not replaced when on leave. I love the Mallee and our small town (Sea Lake) but it seems the powers that be think Victoria ends at Bendigo with as outpost in Mildura and that our shire ends with its 2 slightly larger towns. I do not mean to rant but you did ask.

  7. It’s an amazing communication tool for deaf people, they can now be part of FB ,Twitter, sms the world is now their oyster. Yay woo hoo for them.

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