Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Birth of Social Media

Everyone is always joking about what we did before Facebook or social media. It has been a topic that is always brought up and surely due to our dependency of social media. I am a blogger so of course it is a huge part of my job. The real question is what did they do before social media? I am 31 so obviously I haven't always had social media or the Internet. So, what did people use? Sure there was regular mail and the phone but to share with everyone that would be a lot of time on the phone and many stamps. They had weekly dinners and would see people at the store or at the beauty parlor and around town, but that didn't reach everyone. I guess they spent a lot of time wondering where people were or did they?  Was there perhaps a "Facebook" before Facebook?

I often get bored and search things. I am constantly seeking to learn new things about anything I can. I have always been interested in family history and learning more about family. My grandma Rose wrote a complete family history of her dad’s family. I used to read it over and over. I loved to hear stories about my family. Family is really important to me. So, I decided to yet again Google my Grandma Rose's name, I am not sure why as there is never anything new. I ended up adding her city because there was another person who was dominating the search results.  I had found all the normal information about this person results, an article a distant relative wrote about our family history and even her obituary.  I also found something I had never seen before. A newspaper clipping that my Great Grandma wrote, thanking her children for taking care of her when she was sick. This was actually the newspaper. I kept looking through newspaper articles that I found and there were a ton about my family.  It wasn’t really news as in the traditional sense. It was like Mr. and Mrs. SoandSo had their children over for Sunday Dinner and Mrs. SoandSo is sick and was taken to the hospital and is now at home resting.  I really love those people that decided to scan in old newspapers so I could discover this really cool family history.

I thought it was really cool that I was reading about all of this. My grandma Rose always wrote things in datebooks. You could look at it and find out who called that day, who visited, who she called, what she did every day. I still like to look at them.  At first I thought, they must have no news in this town. I knew it was a really small town as I have visited them still having family living there.  I had to share this with my mom thinking how cool it was and how she would probably get a kick out of it. Then I realized, this was their Social Media. This was the way they communicated with each other in their town. This is how people in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s did it. I obviously know that newspapers have been around for forever, but now you can’t find out that your neighbor had their family over for dinner or your neighbor’s granddaughter was a finalist for the National Merit Scholarship Award.  Those are the things we would write about on Facebook or tweet on Twitter.  They didn’t have the internet so they couldn’t just send an update instantly.  If they haven’t see Thelma in a while, they couldn’t have signed on Facebook and saw that Thelma was in the hospital. They would read about it in the paper.  The news in the paper wasn’t always about crime and politics and traditional news. It was about your neighbors’ news, the people that you shared your lives with daily, your friends, that was the most important news.

 In my opinion social media has been around a lot longer than you think, it just wasn’t digitalized until recently.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely Sheila... we have always been social, it is the platforms that enable us to do so on such a large scale that are new and enable 24/7 around the world socializing. Local papers were special, I still keep clippings from my youth, and they will be missed. But as technology evolves we have to not only spread out wings, but remember to truly build relationships when we can and be sure to connect and know with whom we interact... and create out own "local" networks.