10 Things We Did With Our Lives Before Social Media
It’s the first thing the majority of the world looks at when they wake in the morning and the last thing they look at before their head hits the pillow at night. What is it? Social media.
I recently read something that said people spend an average of two hours a day with their faces buried in their phones and tablets. That's 14 hours a week - on the low end. We all know people who spend way more than two hours a day on social media.
Facebook, the grandfather of social media, has been around since 2004, which means that for the first 20 years of my life, I survived without posting things as they unfolded. For 20 some years, I waited to see my vacation pictures until they’d been developed at the drug store. For 20 years, if I was on vacation and wanted to talk to a friend, I’d send a post postcard because I didn't have messenger at my fingertips.
Do you ever stop to think about how much our lives have changed since social media? This isn’t to say we never do these things anymore, but they were such a bigger part of our lives before social media took over.
His name was Shane and my friend Raina had the biggest crush on him. He was the new guy at school and for whatever reason, when girls were into boys, it always ended up involving prank calls, at least it did with me and my friends. We'd have sleepovers and would call Shane’s number and shush each other while simultaneously giggling into the pillows while we waited for him to answer the line so that we could badly disguise our voices and ask completely random questions. Instead of stalking our crushes on Facebook, we prank called them. Oh, and I should mention that this was back before caller ID was invented and people actually picked up their phone, home phone, probably a wall mounted and corded one, when it rang.
Instead of watching video tutorials on Facebook about how to do our makeup or hair, we’d all go to the house of the girl who knew all the latest tricks because her parents actually allowed her to buy beauty magazines with her allowance. We’d plop down at her kitchen table and wait while she gathered her 300 Caboodles and spread everything out. She’d pick one of us and the rest of the afternoon was spent trying out different shadows and blushes and gels and hairsprays. That’s how we learned.
Instead of Candy Crush, those of us who were lucky enough to have the game, would fire up our clunky Commodore 64, pull out the floppy disk and get excited to play “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” Can you believe we had that much fun playing such a primitive game?
The place to see and be seen was the mall. End of story.
My Dad was a weekend skate guard at a place called Guptills. Rumor has it, it’s the world’s largest indoor roller rink and to this day, whenever I hear Real McCoy or Haddaway or La Bouche, I smile and think of all the Saturdays spent at the rink. I also think about those awkward couples skates. Yeah...
Kickball was a huge deal with adults in the town where I lived in Vermont. As a matter of fact, the rule when I lived there was that no kids were allowed to play for their own safety. It was adult only and no holds barred. Nobody was glued to their cell. Nobody was snapping photos or updating their status. Nobody shouted out “you take my turn while I upload this video to Facebook.” We all just played.
When someone we knew was sick, we’d go visit them. We’d take them a card and we’d sit with them. We didn’t leave get well messages on their Facebook page. We went to them. And when we went to them, our faces weren't buried in our phones. They got our full attention.
Other than the letter my niece wrote to me in words only she can understand, I can’t remember a time this last year that I received a letter from a friend. Cards? Yes. But a full-blown letter detailing life and all the things happening? No. Maybe this is why all those shoe boxes I’ve got tucked away with letters wrapped in ribbon are so special to me. They're quickly becoming the last of their kind.
When we ran into someone we hadn’t seen in a while, we actually talked and caught up with what was going on in their life and there was so much to talk about. Now when we run into a friend we haven’t seen face to face in forever, there’s not much to say except “Yeah, I saw your post.”
Remember when watching the nightly news was a big deal? Remember when listening to the radio for the latest news was the first thing you’d do in the morning, especially if that news involved weather-related school closings? Now, we can get all we could ever want to know and then some from our social media feeds and literally as it's happening.