Social Media, the internet, and how the world has changed in just a few decades.

I remember growing up in a time where cell phones were not as popular or necessary as they are today. We had the old fashioned telephones, and cordless phones in our kitchens or living rooms. If we needed to make a call to a friend we would have to dial their number (which was typically memorized) and talk to them in the open, no privacy. We could always extend the line to our bedroom to have more privacy, but wasn’t always the most convenient. If we wanted to go out and play, we would LITERALLY go out and play, and I mean walk out the door, walk over to your friends house, knock on or ring the doorbell and ask if they wanted to play. We did not text each other to ask that and not to mention we would ACTUALLY go out and play, whatever that may have been, cops and robbers, baseball, hide and seek what have you.

The internet!!!..forget about it, we had modems back then that we would have to dial into through our phone lines and loading a web browser and eventually a webpage would take an eternity. We did not have quick and instantaneous access to YouTube or Facebook like we do today. If we wanted to open up a browser, we might as well have gone to take a shower, changed, had breakfast, and by the time we got back, we would see the page finally loaded on our huge CRT monitors.

It makes me wonder how people back then had to have mastered the art of being patient, and delayed gratification was a way of life. Today, we are so used to having everything happen instantaneously that we don’t know what to do with ourselves anymore if something takes longer than a few seconds, or God forbid a few minutes.

Today, it’s a very different scene. We live in a world where we are bombarded with information overload. You can get any kind of information you want on virtually anything with just tapping your fingers. People are more stressed than they have ever been. Managers demand more in a shorter span of time than they have ever before. One feels almost obligated to read and respond to emails, phone calls, text messages immediately. Your phone keeps buzzing with them, and try to avoid answering right away and people start questioning what took so long. Time has definitely become a commodity today, but along with that stress and depression have also increased. To take a break from the strenuous world we live in today, one has to literally get out of the country, and even then your cell phone goes with you, so you can never really disconnect.

The youth today have access to the internet almost instantly. They all carry cell phones with them that keeps them connected to the outside world all the time, 24×7, whether they like it or not. If you need something, you can have it instantly, no more waiting for web pages to load, or friends to call you back, texting and social media sites have changed all of that. Welcome to the world of instant gratification, no more being patient, which is considered a virtue.

Speaking of social media, there are so many choices these days. You have Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr and many more. Keeping up on all the current news and information being passed around on each and every application is a job in itself. One can easily spend hours just flipping from one application to another, it’s no wonder people these days don’t look up from their phones, they are all so engaged in what everybody else is doing, or showing, or saying. From the moment one wakes up in the morning to the moment one goes to bed, it seems like the youth and adults today are connected. Do they have a choice? What if they were to tune out for a day or two or maybe even a week, what would happen? What would they do with themselves?

The youth these days are more knowledgeable than ever before about almost anything, and why not, information is so readily available to them, compared to when some of us were growing up. It’s almost like the youth today are growing up faster, but at the cost of losing out on simple playfulness. In today’s world you can find the answer to anything you seek just by typing a few words into a search engine like google, or YouTube. This could be a good thing, it’s always good to be aware, and have the answers available as and when you need them, but it can be dangerous as well, based on the type of information available. You don’t want young children looking at things that should be banned or not allowed.

On the one hand, social media and the internet can be great tool for promoting your business or brand, and can help create more traffic for your business especially if you are just starting out. It can also be great way to provide good and helpful content to the world at large by providing tutorials, training, how-to style videos and much more to those looking for specific skills. However, the downside to all of this is that can be the increase of cyber crimes all over the world and cyber bullying that can cause a lot of pain to not only the persons or individuals being bullied but also to their families as well. Unfortunately, when it comes to the cyber world there is no one size fits all with regards to censorship, and it’s essentially free for all that can work to one’s advantage but can also be a disadvantage.

So in conclusion, what can we learn from this form of technology? I guess one of the most important things to keep in mind when surfing the ‘interwebs’ is to always exercise self restraint. Don’t abuse the power of the internet, use it to your advantage to learn something from or provide a means to helping people. If you are a parent, or a family member, find smart and nifty ways to filter certain types of content on your devices at home so that your children don’t stumble upon something they should not be looking at. Be smart, and look out for one another.

Use the internet to make your lives more productive, and try to be as disciplined as you can about scheduling time for surfing the internet. Don’t spend all day in front of your smart device, weather it be your computer, tablet, android or iPhone. Don’t revolve your day around the internet, it should be the other way around.

This is the next wave, this is the future, and I do believe that humanity will continue to evolve, that is just the way life works. I would like to end this post by proposing a question. How many of you have social media accounts, and how much time do you think you spend on them?

 

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