You know, before all this stuff. Back when there was no Facebook (yes, there was a time!). No Likes. No Shares. No Friends. (Well, okay, I’ll give you that last one.) Twitter was something birds did. There was no endless scrolling on Pinterest, and no Vine-ing the night away.
Remember what life was like back then? Mornings were sure different for many of us. You’d never think of calling up a friend at 7am, interrupting their sleep or their scramble to get the kids out the door just to say hi, commiserate over who won the game last night, or tell them about this really cool video you just saw. But now, we have these early morning conversations with each other on a daily basis. As my friend Andrew would say, these early morning connections are our “new normal”.
Think back 20 years, to a time before the 5000 channel universe. When you still knew what time your favourite TV show actually aired. When, if you wanted to talk about the show you were watching, you typically waited till you were around the water cooler at work the next day.
Think back 30 or so years, to a time before the world unfolded around you in real-time. Before CNN and channels like it brought us the world in an instant, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When the 6 o’clock news was a destination, and the major broadcasters were our sole source of news, ideas, and commentary.
How does thinking about those times make you feel? As you reach for your smart phone yet again, can you even remember what it felt like?
Many of us pine away for those so-called simpler times. Those times when we weren’t overloaded with information from all angles, 24 hours a day. When our friends didn’t annoy us with their over-sharing. When we didn’t really know anyone outside our inner circle of family and friends, and we were okay with that.
But I don’t long for those days at all. Sure, I do miss a good dial on a rotary phone, but when I do, I have this.
10 years ago, it would have been inconceivable for me to think that I could watch my friends Barry and Jim, both cameramen for major news networks, simultaneously sharing their personal photos from Nelson Mandela’s memorial service on Facebook. But that is exactly what I’m doing this morning.
10 years ago, I’d never heard of Jon, Chris, C.C., Amber, Marc, AJ, Mitch, Geoff, Glenda, and Becky. They’d never heard of me. But (and even though, in the case of AJ, Glenda, and Becky, we’ve never met in person), I cannot imagine my life without these people in it. I am richer because I know them, and I would have never met them if not for our ability to connect through this vast network of pipes and wires.
Yes, we live in incredible times. We are connected to the world like never before. Sure, we complain about the always-on nature of today’s world. We stress because our phones and tablets are continually demanding our attention. We sigh in frustration because of trolls and Negative Nellies that cramp our style.
But you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.