My husband is a computer geek (a main-frame computer geek) and is comfortable working on PCs. He isn’t as comfortable with social media but recognizes its value and the need to learn it. When talking about social media communication he frequently uses the wrong term, I wouldn’t be surprised if he does it just to tease me.
I worked up a chart to help explain the different social media communication terms and what they are related to in a non-digital communication form. Here is what I put together for him. As I told him, there are more but this is to get him started.
- E-mail = mail only faster and cheaper
- Text = phone call only not as many words and no “call-flower” ear
- Post = a flyer you give to your friends who might give it to another friend
- Tweet = a notice you put in the newspaper for the subscribers to see
- Message = a telegram you send to a specific person using a particular program
After this exercise, it hit home how much our communication has changed. In another generation, people won’t recognize a newspaper or telephone. The telegram is almost gone now. My generation is a gap generation, we know what all these things are, have used them, and now we use digital communication. Times they are a-changing, and it’s all good.
Recently I spent some time in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and was very surprised by the beauty of the place. One of the places I visited was McLain State Park, which is a park that is right on the shore of Lake Superior. The park has very little cell service and is a great place to get away to recharge.
One afternoon I took the time to watch the sunset over the Lake. Waiting for the sunset was an experience that sounds simple enough but was surprisingly hard. I sat there on a bench (provided by the park) and waited for the sunset. It was about a 30-minute wait – had to get there early to get a bench. As I waited, the crowd began to grow along the shore. People of all ages were there.
The Lake is about 20 feet lower than where we waited. Many of the younger people and children were eagerly climbing the cliff to play in the water. Those campers that had front row seats to the sunset were quietly setting up chairs to enjoy the event.
There was a smell of campfires burning, and you could hear the crack of a bat as some boys played baseball nearby. Overall, a very pleasant afternoon. I sat watching, listening, and waiting for the sunset.
After a few minutes, I found my mind wandering from the sunset to thinking about checking my Facebook account and reading some news while waiting. But that was impossible to do since I had no bars on my cell phone. So I sat and tried to focus on the beauty of the place around me. It was an awakening to realize how hard it was to let go of everything. I struggled to clear my mind and not worry about the emails that were going unread.
By the time I had relaxed and was enjoying the quiet in my brain, the sun slipped behind a cloud bank, so there was no spectacular sunset that day. But the time was certainly not wasted, I learned a lot about myself and how hard it is to detach from the instant communications we have and expect. Now to post this and check what is happening on Twitter.