Saturday, March 23, 2013

Life before Facebook

What was life like before Facebook?

This thought came to mind when trying to remember exactly WHEN I joined Facebook.  According to my time line, I joined April 27, 2008.  I joined to stay in touch with my kids who lived hundreds of miles away. Over the next few months, I discovered Facebook to be an essential communication tool. Within the year, I was using Facebook to stay in touch with my Children's Ministry friends across the country, my church family and Children's Ministry team, extended family,  local friends and friends I hadn't contacted in decades.

It is easy to know what I've done since Facebook. There is more than enough information recorded in my Facebook "timeline" to answer that question. By clicking on the Activity tab, I can retrace the events of my life back to April 27, 2008.  It is a virtual longterm memory vault build with hundreds of photos and short term memories bites.

I rarely go a day without logging into Facebook on my laptop, iPhone or iPad. I've logged into Facebook from the comfort and familiarity of my own bedroom as well as from the tip of South Africa. I've posted photos at sea level from my lounge chair on the beach and from the edge of a frozen lake high up in the mountains of Colorado.

I have friends from all over the world who are just a click away.  I may only see them once a year, but we share our lives through quips, prayer requests, shared photos and virtual chit-chat.

It's more of a challenge to recall what life was like before Facebook.

Before Facebook.....

  • I was tethered to a land phone or cellphone.  I talked on the phone, a lot!  I purchased my first cellphone in 1986 to keep up with my real estate customers, clients and colleagues. It was the best tool for my business and it quickly became my go to mode of communication for personal communication as well.  When smart phones became available, I used the new features mainly for email and web browsers.  It would be a long time before I sent my first SMS text. 
  • I wrote more letters and notecards. This is not a positive change.  I still think letters and notecards are the most intimate and elegant forms of distance communication. I save the ones I am lucky enough to receive so I can reread them.  I have a drawer full of notecards and stationary, but do not write as often as I should. I'm ashamed to admit I am quick to say thank you via Facebook when a Thank you note would make a better statement of my appreciation. 
  • I exchanged and collected real photographs.  Good of bad, I had prints of every photo I'd ever taken as well as copies of photos taken by others. We exchanged photos by mail or in person.  I had boxes and photo albums full of pictures. When friends or family visited, they would flip through those photo albums and let me bore them with a narrative of each one.  I still have framed photos all over my house, but they are becoming somewhat dated.
  • My friendships were limited by proximity. Friendships are built on day to day connections while doing life. It is difficult to develop friendships with limited contact, so my friendships were limited to people in my community.  Basically,  I had close local friends and acquaintances I saw once a year, I would have liked to call friends. 
  • I had more hobbies.  I took piano and voice lessons, created projects around the house and rearranged closets and furniture more often.  I knew I would never play piano or sing well enough to entertain others. I surely didn't need another knitted scarf.  It was how I avoided  boredom and entertained myself. 
  • I regularly journaled on paper with pen.  I learned early on I process things better by putting my thoughts on paper. I could write for hours until I began to experience sourness in my hands and fingers. I filled volumes for an audience of one. I began a prayer journal and my audience grew to three - God, Jesus and me.  I still journal sporatically, but only to express my more private thoughts and prayers. 

Good or not so good changes and not good or bad just different, that's my short list.   

How has your life changed since you joined Facebook?

Go Ahead - Google it!