Wow! That sounds a bit harsh, doesn’t it? But let me tell you a little story in which I reveal just how freaking old I am. It was 1987 the first time I got onto a plane and flew to a foreign country. Gosh! How exciting! Only 17 years old and living in Germany as a foreign exchange student. Of course, it was totally awesome, eye-opening, and an all-around great experience, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. Nope. I’m here to tell you just how unbelievably difficult it was to keep in touch with friends and families in the 1980s when you lived across the pond (that’s the Atlantic Ocean in case you’re confused).
For those not in the know, we had to use actual mail (the paper stuff that comes in the mailbox and is usually full of advertisements) to keep in touch. Sure, the telephone existed. But it was expensive. This was a time when people still complained they were calling ‘long distance’ and couldn’t talk long. Long distance? Try another country across the ocean! That’s what they call expensive. And the internet? Oh sure, it existed. But except for some super geeks, no one knew about it – yet. So yeah, it was hard to keep in touch. Friendships slowly slipped away and connections were lost.
And then came email. Whoo! Hoo! Now that was some exciting times. Email, internet with a dial-up connection that took flipping forever, oh yeah baby. Unfortunately, email still requires a human being to actually sit down and write a letter. Because when email first came around, us oldies used it a bit like the regular ‘ol mail. We wrote letters. And let’s face it, humans are lazy. Like, really, really, lazy. And hey! Isn’t it just easier to hang out with the friends and family another street over? Okay, maybe a few hours drive away for the holidays, but let’s not push. Unfortunately, email wasn’t the answer to keeping connected to friends and families when living far, far away.
But then this thing arrived called social media. First (for me at least), it was Facebook. (Aside – this is not a paid advertisement for Facebook, but due to my age and friend group, that’s the website I use the most as do my connections.) Facebook is so easy. Like, seriously easy. Even for super-duper lazy people (you know who you are!). You can keep in touch with barely any effort. Just post a picture of yourself drinking beer and everyone responds with likes and greetings. It takes almost no effort to hit that like button and keep that connection from high school, that Summer job or whatever, going. Heck, you don’t even have to post. You can be a secret Facebook stalker (trademark pending).
Sure, social media can suck you in and steal hours of your life away. But don’t blame the websites for that. I don’t blame the breweries when I have a hangover either! Instead, be thankful that you can keep in touch with all those wonderful (and some not so wonderful) people from your past. As the Dutch say ~ Alles met mate. In other words, use moderation. I haven’t figured out how to do that yet, but I am still a diehard Facebook fan. And now you know why.