Social media has created an environment and culture of fun, intrigue, gossip, slander, adventure, mystery and more. It is almost a “no rules apply” phenomenon where whatever we say or do can be posted or “hash-tagged” within seconds.
Just keeping up with the acronyms alone is hard enough. Over the years, having raised teenage children through the cell phone/smartphone era and having managed some folks that would fall into the Generation Y category, I thought that I had at least a grasp on what they were saying via text or on sites such as Facebook. Things such as LOL, ROFL, TTYL, BRB, and hundreds more. Recently, I became aware of TBT, or Throw Back Thursday.
THROW BACK THURSDAY
I became aware of TBT because someone had shared a picture of me on Facebook from 34 years ago. And thanks to everyone for the “likes” and “comments.” Your kindness and sarcasm were both greatly appreciated. It is a picture of me at my high school prom or junior cotillion. As I looked at the picture, I was immediately transported back in time to the days of my youth — the friends that I kept, the dreams that I had. And as I reflected on each, I was quickly reminded of this fact: That was then and this is now.
No one could have predicted the future and what would happen in the world, let alone in the small circle of friends that we grew up with. The lens that we viewed life through at the time was based on the information we had, the communications we received and the interaction we had with one another.
Storytelling even in the 1970s and 1980s was alive and well just as it was hundreds and thousands of years ago. I loved hearing my grandfather tell stories of our family’s past or an aunt or uncle of a friend share their life stories.
HUMAN INTERACTION ON THE DECLINE?
Technology has given us many advantages. It has certainly made many things much easier and access to information has never been faster. But as I looked back on that picture from 34 years ago, I am a bit saddened by what technology may also be depriving us of experiencing.
That was then and this is now, I get that, but when I watch how my children interact with others, as I go to the gym and look around at everyone plugged into their own iPod and ear buds, there is something wrong and missing. Human interaction and conversation seems to have given way to texting and postings.
Am I being nostalgic or melancholy for days gone by? Maybe? Probably. Definitely.
Now I am a fan of Facebook, Skype, Facetime and other technologies that allow me to reconnect with family and friends, co-workers and clients from all over the world in a virtual environment. I am grateful to be able to still see my kids and loved ones when I am traveling either through a Facetime chat or through the exchanges of pictures, and yes kids, even my selfies.
That was then and this is now. How about you, what do you miss most or enjoy most about where we were then and where we are today? I would love to hear all about it at firstname.lastname@example.org, and when we can bring the good things from our past into our future, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach, motivational speaker and CEO of www.candogo.com. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.