Friday, January 7, 2011

life before social networks

Wow! Probably life before social networking may just be something few people can recall. With all the recent flack about FB selling our information to people and privacy issues, it still remains very popular to this day.

I remember getting on the Internet in 1997, when my small town and all we had was *sigh* dial up, OH my! I remember drumming my fingers listening for that dial up sound to finally connect me to the Internet. I remember getting Net Zero and AOL discs in the mail to sign up and connect even to more networks and people. Well now we don't get those offers anymore, no one, or well hardly anyone, uses dial up now and why pay AOL for something everyone else offers for free (web sites) and now cable offers faster, lightening speed Internet services. Wow, that seems like eons ago now.

Many of us do not realize there is an entire generation of kids growing up who have never experienced what life was like without social networking sites. Whether this is a good or bad thing will be something for history to decide. Many today feel it may be a bad thing. Why? Well, some kids cannot spell, and maybe they will never be required to spell correctly, but by using text messaging all the time a their main forms of communication, they can write gibberish and never have to spell anything fully. After all, who wants to pay for extra words or extra letters when you don't have to? Can I buy a vowel please?

Another drawback to all of this social networking just may be an entire generation of kids who don't have very many social skills. Why, again? Well they meet on the Internet, they may use cams to see each other's faces while communicating, or not, but they still do not have those face to face interactions that people must use social skills for. When going to job interviews some may be clueless as to how to conduct themselves because they never had to use social skills. If social skills are not in their bag of 'how to' it is a pretty good guess they don't have a clue.

Before social networking, my kids actually went places to meet their friends. They went to malls, fast food joints, school functions, and even actually went to friend's houses. I know, shocking isn't it? Now all kids have to do is hop on a social network, update, in very few words, what went on with their day and check later on for responses from friends. Remember when kids actually called on a phone and had conversations, I mean really talked to friends, like one on one? Those were the 'good old days?' I have seen an answer to this question that was recently posed in the 'Requests' section and they said: 'life would go on,' or 'I'd be fine, life moves forward.' While that is certainly very true, would they really be fine with not being ale to use a social network? Let's face it, on FB you can keep in touch with loved ones, friends and even meet new soon to be, loved ones and not spend as much as we used to spend in a long distance call. So it has its economical side to it.

We all use electronic banking, we very seldom use snail mail, even advertisers seldom use snail mail when now they can use the Internet and even spam mail us all. My junk mail in my mailbox went down while my spam mail has shot way up. Snail mail has almost disappeared from our lives, so much so, the US Postal Service is nearly an obsolete entity in out lives now.

So many people have given up land phones for cell phone services,after all, you cannot take a wall phone places. There is an entire generation of kids who have probably never used a phone with a cord and I dare say many never knew phones with cords ever existed. Remember when we used answering machines instead of voice mail? Wow, what memories that brings back.

A community used to be defined as neighborhoods, houses and villages, now there are virtual communities, those communities that exist on line.

Types of virtual communities:

Internet message boards: these allow people to choose topics of interest and leave messages to discuss certain topics or ask questions of people and check back for answers to their questions. Anyone can become a member of this community even if they do not choose to share their thoughts. these are also known as forums. The downside of message boards is you have to wait for answers.

Online chat rooms: People wanted a way to convey their messages to each other in 'real time' so the online chat rooms were created. The upside of this is that you can instantly communicate with chat room members and you can choose chat rooms offering various topics of discussion, or those simply offering friendships and dating online.

Virtual worlds: These are worlds where you can choose an avatar and become anyone you want to be. these are popular in all sorts of online games. You can create your own fantasy worlds and even buy and sell items and make real money on some sites. Two avatars can even have intimate relationships online.

So, if the satellites went down tomorrow or even today, would you be devastated? Would you feel like life has come to a halt? These are interesting questions few of us ever think about in this new, electronic age of instant gratifications.


  1. My guess is we'd have to talk to people again. Oh, no. You mean they could say something back? I remember when we got our first extension phone in the kitchen with a long cord, lying on the floor talking with school friends until my Dad would come in there and give me The Look.

  2. I recall those long extension cord phones too and the 'party lines' I loved to secretly listen in on my neighbor's conversations until yep, my mom gave me that look too. Think of all the fun kids today miss out on. I'm glad you stopped by.