Some changes happen slowly, like losing one’s hair, trees growing, or children getting toilet trained. Other changes happen fast – so fast that we have a hard time adjusting to them. Weather can change that fast, as can the price of gold, stocks, and Beany Babies.
The last ten years has spawned an immense change in our lives, even if we haven’t participated. That change is in the form of the electronification, if that’s even a word, of communication.
Ten years ago the term “social media” may have existed, but only among a fairly small group of people. “Myspace.com” and “facebook.com” existed, but were both in the very early stages of acceptance. Blogging – in essence, electronic newsletters—were coming into vogue. Websites that gather news from many sources, like drudgereport.com, started in the mid 1990’s, but really took off during the Monica Lewinski scandal, which was first exposed by Matt Drudge.
Now, newspapers, magazines, and even radio and TV stations are putting a lot of resources into on-line identities. Books are becoming a fading commodity as the Kindle and other forms of electronic publishing surge forward. The closing of Borders bookstores is the most recent evidence of that change.
The social media, starting with myspace.com, facebook.com, and then twitter.com seem to have shoved a lot of other media to the side. The timeframe for dissemination of news and information – factual or not – has gone from days to hours to minutes to seconds, as tweeters send messages while news happens.
Thanks to Facebook, I get a little reminder every day about my “friends’” birthdays. If someone is my real-life
friend, I should know their birthday – though I probably don’t, because I’m a guy. Wishing a virtual friend happy
birthday seems disingenuous. Although, it was nice last December when so many people sent those wishes to me.
To be honest, I am feeling left behind by a lot of this. I don’t have a “smart” phone or an I-pad, and the thought of adding that technology to my electronic arsenal seems daunting. I have a Twitter account, but wonder who cares about what I write, or how it could possibly matter.
I feel like an old man in 1910, shaking my fist at those darn automobiles, or shunning the telephone. I’m sitting here in 2011 hearing myself use strange phrases like, “Would you like to Skype?”
I’m not a Luddite, but I wait with both enthusiasm and trepidation for whatever is coming next, and what the next thing is that will go away.
If you find out, send me an email, okay?