Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Face of Social Media, Then and Now

Social media permeates our lives from Facebook to Twitter, Androids and Blackberry's, Blogger and Wordpress, Emails, txt messages, instant messages, WiFi, Bluetooth and more.  It seems there isn't a moment in the day that we aren't somehow connected to each other.  Even my television now has messages.  Thanks to U-Verse when we get a phone call a message appears on the television telling us who it is and what number is calling.  That makes it very easy to decide if I want to answer it or not.  Even easier, I can pause live tv, take the call and then return to the program all without having to miss a thing.   Our son links his DS to the WiFi and connects with other gamers.  Going on a trip? Forget about that Rand McNally Road Atlas! Download the latest maps to your GPS and go. Playing World of Warcraft and you're hungry?  Order food online and have it delivered then continue killing those Horde, or Alliance if that is your preferance.  I have a level 80 Worgen and Night Elf.  Life is good.  

I think it's ironic with all of the social media and online interaction going on that most of us have less actual face to face time with other human beings.  It seems we've become a bunch of recluse's sitting in front of computer screens or on the go with iPads and cell phones.  Facebook?  Sure, you might have 835 friends but how many have you actually met in person?  You're in a guild on Runescape that has 238 people?  Awesome!  But do you ever met them outside the game?   The face of social media today has become, well, faceless.  Unless you count your Avatar!

Social media has always been around, it just didn't have a name.  You met people at church, cotillions, school, and through family and friends.  You corresponded with ink and paper.  As a matter of fact you corresponded a LOT.  You received notes asking if it was permissable for Mr X to drop by this evening or if Miss G could visit the new baby.  Letters of introduction were used as were calling cards, sometimes accepted, sometimes not.  Dance cards were filled with names of hopeful gentlemen.  Mourning cards and letters were trimmed in black and usually used for at least a year after the death of the person you were mourning.  Invitations were sent for anniversaries, weddings, christenings, concerts, and dances.  People sent announcements on the birth of the baby which usually including the babies very own calling card!  Is it your "Wooden Anniversary"?  Then by all means announce it to your friends!  When was the last time you received a card that wasn't an e-card?

And let's not forget photographs!  Friends, family, school groups, musicals, the girl you met on that trip to New York or that cousin you haven't seen in 10 years, perhaps a picture of the new house your uncle built out in Gainesville, TX!  People made special trips to larger cities to have pictures made and photographers were proud of their art.  Photo studios placed their name and location on each photograph such as Thuss, Kollein & Giers from Nashville.  Photographers often traveled to small towns giving many people a chance to be photographed who might never have the opportunity again.  How often does anyone go to a professional photographer these days?

The internet is a wonderful thing but like anything else, it's best when used in moderation.  So get up, go out, have some fun.  Then blog about it and maybe share some digital photo's on Facebook.  :)  With that I present a few images of Moran Family 19th century social media....

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