Remember When We Didn’t Have The World at our Finger Tips?
As I often do these days, I catch myself reflecting on “life when I was young” compared to that of my sons and young relatives. And as we sat at dinner one night, with my niece and nephew busily on their iPhones…researching basically any and every topic that was brought up during dinner (“Who was that British guy in that spy movie?”…”What was the name of that song in that commercial…?”), I couldn’t help think of my family’s prized Golden Book Encyclopedia set. Remember those? Imagine, everything from A to B in a single encyclopedia. Was the world that simple then? Or were we?
This year, I once again spent a good deal of time writing a special verse for my family’s annual Christmas card. I also selected a number of recent photos of my college-age kids to share as part of the card. Sending Christmas cards is a tradition that my mom first exposed me to when I was very young; I routinely sent relatives a hand-written card…not expecting anything in return, just to connect with them and wish them well. My mom had thought it was particularly important as most of my relatives lived on the other side of the US from our family. I fear this tradition is coming to an end, however. As with many things in my life, I feel like I am plodding along in a dinosaur fashion by actually sending out physical cards. Have Christmas cards now become obsoleted, too?
I remember the day I lost my cyberspace virginity…do you remember your first time?
Flashback…I had first thought my co-worker had been talking about someone cool that she was hanging out with named “Earl”… She had said something about how she had got to him. It wasn’t until much later that I learned that Earl was not a he, but was an address, a place in cyberspace, and was spelled “U-R-L.”
You see, I was a cyberspace virgin at the time…oh, I had a PC, mind you…but my world had been limited to a hard drive. I still remember that first time…that first involvement with Earl. That first website access: a confusing series of letters, names, punctuation and slashes.
I remember how hard it was for me to remember which slash was which (forward or backward)…position definitely did matter in Earl’s world.
A few years ago I finally signed up for a Facebook accountafter several friends who post their photos online sent me requests to “JOIN!” I felt a bit strong-armed into it, but when I received yet another friend’s, “Either sign up or never see me or my photos again…” (Well, they really didn’t say that exactly), I finally relented and signed up. It only took about a week for me to realize that Facebook might just be some evil sociologist’s grand social etiquette experiment…it is just so prone to social “collisions”…read on.
We’re Friends, Yet Worlds Apart: Contrary Political and/or Religions Beliefs:
Ever Wonder How You Are Friends with So Many People Who Wouldn’t be Friends with Each Other?
It didn’t take me long to regret a Facebook post; because it didn’t take me long to realize that my friends and family on FB were a very diverse collection of folks, especially relating to political and religious views. My friends list consisted of conservatives and liberals, atheists and strict fundamentalists, and everything in between.
I had decided to post a video of a gay-rights speech that a friend of mine had posted on his wall. I thought it was very powerful, moving and right on target so I immediately wanted to “share” it on my own FB wall. It echoed my strong beliefs on the subject, so I ventured out of my privacy zone and posted it. Just like that. Easy…and isn’t that what FB is all about, sharing your life and thoughts with people in your life?
Technology has evolved dramaticallysince I was in school. My sons have both gone off to college in the past few years…such a mind-trip for me to realize how different their college experience is from a technology and societal perspective. The Internet didn’t exist back then, nor were there Starbucks. No smart phones, either. Back then, the “smarts” were seemingly in the people, not the phones. I actually remember having to memorize all of my friends’ telephone numbers or having to write them down in a telephone directory. Really. And no, the dinosaurs weren’t still roaming…it just may seem like it to today’s kids.
Obsoleted Soccer Moms lived back in tough times, where the “Smarts” were built into people, not devices! (acknowledgement to wronghands1.worpress.com for graphic)
I was reflecting on what a different experience kids have nowadays in college. Keep in mind I was in college in the late 70’s, graduating in 1980.
We didn’t have personal computers back then. I know, hard to believe. If you were nerdy enough to have anything to do with a computer, you were creating punch-cards for the mainframe on campus. And a laptop was simply that…the top of someone’s lap.
We didn’t have cell phones back then. Nor did anyone ever offer anything called wireless access. So if you had told me you had a “hot spot”, I would have kept my distance and suggested you go to the doctor…We didn’t have anything wireless. And besides, there weren’t any Starbucks back then, so there really wasn’t a place to hang out to use the wireless access (that we didn’t have) for the laptops (that didn’t exist) anyway.
The Virtual You. An interesting concept. You die, and leave the bread crumbs of your life in so many places on the Internet….what will happen to those floating remnants of you, when you’re gone?
Your Virtual DNA in the Internet Cloud
I was desperately looking around for an online password earlier today…you know how that goes, you have some scheme whereby you cleverly document all of those pesky passwords, something accessible yet a bit out of the way so midnight ninjas won’t come in and steal them.
I have a folder in a file drawer (oops, now I’ll have to move it elsewhere I guess) that I use for mine. It started out as an organized list, with only a few entries…but fast became a folder full of little sticky notes that provided usernames and passwords to every imaginable site.
Signing up for an account always seems necessary at the time. “Sign up or we won’t help you”, basically…so I do. Today, I counted about 120 sites referenced in my folder. 120 sites that contain the “virtual me”. I don’t use most of them now, but my virtual DNA is still there, sitting in some company’s database up in the internet cloud…and one wonders what info is tagged to that “me” out there…birth-date, maybe a credit card number, some purchase preferences…oh, I shudder to think of it.