Sunday, August 23, 2009

Social media

Joanne and I are learning more than we ever dreamed about social media. When our daughters left home, they felt we needed a better way to connect to them. Yes, we all had e-mail--to a point. They soon had us each sign up for G-mail, which we did. Then, they showed us how to do "G-mail chat," which has been loads of fun.

Thankfully, my mother forced me to take "typing" (that's keyboarding to all of you young people) in my sophomore year. Mrs. McIntire definitely spent a bit of time with us. With G-mail chat you can type conversations to each other as fast as you can. Amazingly, my daughters can "chat" with numerous people simultaneously and keep the conversations straight. I think the most conversations I have participated in have been maybe two or three at the max, and that was a difficult thing for a guy who learned how to type on a Royal 44.

Then, after G-mail, my daughters said, "Dad, you have to have a blog." Thus, I now have a blog albeit not as delightful or grandiose as some I have seen. Nonetheless, it serves its purpose to "inform." Plus, I have a great time posting photos of our trips.

Now, after G-mail and after the blog, our daughters said, "Okay, now's the time for Facebook. They helped us get on Facebook, showed us how to post pictures, and write notes. Next thing you know, we both have a Facebook page, and we are busily posting stuff--pictures, notes, and things. I have posted dozens of pictures. Many of them have received comments, which make me happy.

I believe one of the greatest things about Facebook is this: You can find people, and they can find you; people from my graduating class have found me; people from my mission in Chile have found me; and people from our past lives in Idaho Falls, Lewiston, Boise, and Miles City have found us. Plus, we are able to keep in contact with our family members and friends.

Probably one of the coolest things about this whole social media thing is the video portion of G-mail or whatever mail package that you have. On Saturday, I was outside working in the garden when my lovely bride of 30 years called me to come in. She and my oldest daughter were chatting via G-mail video. While that is cool in and of itself, the cool thing was that there was my new granddaughter up and front and precious. We had a wonderful visit. Of course, she is only two months old and was probably wondering what in the world was her mother doing sticking her in front of a camera and saying, "Say hi to Grandma and Grandpa." I suspect she will understand more of this in a few months. Now what is better than talking to and seeing in living color your daughter and granddaughter live?

I think in our society, keeping in touch is such a difficult thing. Letter writing has, unfortunately, gone by the wayside. But social media has brought the connectivity back, perhaps not as personal as old-fashioned letters home; but it has returned people to writing albeit a bit "non Englishy..." Most people try to write decently, which I appreciate. Of course, if someone asks to be your friend, and you don't want that to happen, you don't have to "accept" them as your friend. This may seem a bit odd, but your choice of who can or cannot be your friend is strictly up to you. Of course, once you accept someone, then everyone on their list can see what is going on with you via your friend. Thus, everyone literally has a zillion friends.

So, there you have it--social media from my perspective.


Dear Chicka said...

I agree that Social Media is a fantastic thing. Of course, like most everything, it can be misused- thus shedding a bad light on the concept. However, when used to communicate with family, long lost friends and business associates sometimes I wonder what we did without it!

Garth said...

Good insights on social media, Darrel. I too took typing as a sophomore in high school. It has proved to be one of the most valuable classes I took in high school. I'm so grateful for the ability to use a keyboard with relative ease. It has been an important part of my professional, church, and personal life. The information overload, dependence on technology, and loss of the personal touch of a handwritten letter are an unfortunate drawback.

Darrel and Joanne Hammon said...

I guess we could use this media, print it out, enclose in an envelope, and send....

Joseph Keller Math 485 said...

I love instant communication, but the whole point of true personal communication has completely disappeared, which is a shame. Letter writing is just so romantic. The whole idea of sitting down, taking a pen and personally writing words of love, gratitude and concern seems so much more... personal.

Anyway, soap box.