“Look before, or you’ll find yourself behind.” – Benjamin Franklin
I just had my first birthday on Facebook and I must admit, I haven’t felt this well celebrated in years. As you may or may not recall, I wrote a column back in March about being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the future via Facebook. It wasn’t a very cheery column because at the time, I had no interest in adding posting minute and generally uninteresting details of my life on Facebook to my daily “To Do” list. Boy, was I wrong!
It turns out if you want to keep up with your kids, coworkers, family and old friends or seem surprisingly hip to your photography business clients, Facebook is the way to go. Since I began actively checking my “wall” several times a day and going to other people’s “walls” to read their “status” updates, I know a whole lot more about the people in my life than I used to and, contrary to my initial notion, most of it is pretty interesting.
For example, my little sister in Colorado is a landscaper and, according to her most recent post, she has put 2,665 bulbs in the ground in the last six days. My son and his wife just ran a half marathon in Athens and within moments of crossing the finish line a photo of their two lovely, exhausted, exhilarated selves was on-line. I never would’ve gotten to share in their glory and enjoy the comments of their friends, had I not been able to check in on it all via Facebook.
One of my daughter’s college roommates is a Fulbright Scholar in Jordan and her postings are wildly interesting; so, too, are those of an old friend who is a PhD astronomer/single parent. His postings range from exotic shots of faraway planets and odd pieces of rock that somehow made their way to Earth, to super cute i-Phone images of his four-year-old daughter. Another friend manages a bank in Atlanta and some of the things his customers say and do, well, you couldn’t make that stuff up if you tried.
I read about the parenting trials and tribulations of family and friends who live so far away I would never be able to put them in any real life context were it not for their daily posts and somehow because of what they put up on their “walls” and how I respond, we all feel a lot closer than we have in years. It’s the power of just being able to quickly, easily and for no extra fee - share.
The future is surprising that way. It comes up with things you think you’re really going to hate, but then end up loving because they’re just so interesting, useful or fun.
The other day, I picked my car up from the mechanic and an older man in the waiting room was scrolling slowly through his cell phone, trying to find his own number. We laughed, that man, the mechanic and me, because we all agreed that without our cell phones, we’re useless when it comes to phone numbers – even our own.
”When those things first came out I couldn’t imagine myself having one,” the mechanic said. “Now look at us – we can’t live without ‘em.”
Our first mobile phone was one of those huge old “bag phones” that came out in the late 1980’s. It was in Mr. Clark’s company car and we felt pretty special having it. My son, who was eight at the time, would sit in the car and pretend to make calls because it made him feel “like a movie star.” Good times, great technology… The other day, I started volunteering at a clinic in Athens for people with no money or insurance. As you might expect, the place was crawling with UGA interns gaining school credit while learning to serve humanity. One of the girls I worked with wanted to find a phone number, but because the clinic can’t afford computers, she didn’t know what to do. Finally she picked up a phone book and said, “Can you show me how to use this? I’ve never even opened one of these up. I always just use my phone.” Amazing… Mr. Clark read that the average person under 25 sends at least 50 text messages a day, while the average person over 50 sends under five; that’s quite a disparity. I admit to being annoyed when the young people around me sit silently, thumbs flying, texting away while they’re supposed to be doing something else, but it’s not all old school curmudgeon for me - some days I send way more than five texts.
You would think my positive experience with cell phones and Facebook would make me more willing to embrace new technologies, but it hasn’t. I’m like an old Rottweiler, still suspicious of anything new and very wary of change. Each passing birthday presents the challenge of working a little harder to stay young and current, because as the years fly by it becomes easier and easier to cling to the past and become stagnant. Who knows what techno-challenge this year will bring? Those i-Pads look like a lot of fun on TV…
Lorin Sinn-Clark is a reporter for the Barrow Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I got my first computer back in the 80's when they first came out. It was love at first key stroke! Do not miss having to swap floppies to open a program and then save your work.
I got my first cell phone in the early nineties and boy am I glad they've improved the technology on them. From hugh clunker phone that simply made and received calls to one that manages my life for me.
I can't remember the last time I opened a phone book or even saw one. E-mails replaced snail mail a long time ago for me. On-line bill pay is the only way to go. On-line anything!!! I do most of my shopping on line and have it delivered.
Facebook - I actually have two accounts, my private for family and friends and my public for everyone in the world including clients.
I can't wait to see what the next wave is. I can't wait to play with it.