"Questions, Quotes and Quips"
The Scourge and Solace of Social Media
July 6, 2022
It came to our understanding the other day, June 30th to be exact, that Social Media now has a day of its own by which to celebrate. We welcome it to the pantheon of days of special significance and wish it happy 12th birthday! By the way, social media also shares its special day with meteor day, hopefully this does not portend to any disaster.
From its earliest beginnings in the 1970’s to its more broad acceptance in the 1990’s, social media’s hype came with great expectations. In 1995 classmates.com was launched and many people could now really “keep in touch!” AOL launched Instant Messenger in 1997, Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger followed in 1999. LinkedIn began its business oriented networking site in 2003 along with MySpace and Skype. Facebook followed suit in 2004, Twitter came online in 2006 and Instagram in 2010, the same year that social media day was inaugurated.
Nowadays though it seems like social media may be getting a bad rap and a day to celebrate its advent in our lives may seem like an anathema to many. How did a computer application with its ability to find and connect people from the other side of the world become what might be described as a scourge on our civilization? What became of the hope each of these sites promised? Many “friends” that used to frequent these sites have dropped off changing one site for another or disappeared altogether. The complaints often heard are the usual suspects of politics or religion or the latest being censorship of content.
Our retort to these discontentments is simple; turn the page, turn down the volume, unfollow, and do not respond. Do we really think that our opinions will matter or change the mind of those only looking for an argument? Granted it has indeed morphed into what some would consider an extension of one political party or the other, but if you don’t play you don’t pay.
But enough of the grievances already, we wish to inspire those who are on the fence with social media ready to jump ship to give it another look and consider the alternative. Although we can not go back, think for a moment what life without social media was way back before the 1990’s.
On our first trip to Disney World and EPCOT, we visited Tomorrowland and were enthralled by the vision of the holographic “phone call” that put grandparents in the same room as their grandkids. This image has stuck with us all these years and we thought how great the future would be. Thanks to the advancements of technology, tomorrow is today (almost) and home bound family members can see your beautiful face as they talk with you
When we were introduced to Facebook, our first foray in social media, we must admit our reluctance but soon after the benefits emerged. We were able to see all of those faces we left behind when we moved out of the state which we were raised and called home. As with most families, the faces multiply over time and trips back were not long enough to meet and greet all new family and friends as well as old ones.
Considering what it meant for travelers before social media and todays modern conveniences, staying connected often was impossible and meant having to say goodbye, never to be seen or heard from again!
Now, having moved again, this time to the most remote place on the planet and travel much more complicated, costly and not convenient at all, connections are even more tenuous.
With social media we can keep in touch with those who wish to see and be seen and hear from and be heard; it has become a solace for the adventurous of today.
"Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes." -- Henry David Thoreau