Feb 16


This is a guest editor reply to the Mashable Article: Why Social Media Is Bringing Back Our Grandparents’ Values [OP-ED]

On January 4 at 9:46 p.m., I posted this message to Facebook:

“Vegas tomorrow. Who’s in?”

I was preparing for my drive/pilgrimage to Las Vegas for CES. And, as one does, I alerted 500 of my closest Facebook friends of this fact. I didn’t even think much of it.

The next morning, before I settled into the long drive, I stopped in to my local coffee shop. Ashley, who works there and knows my kids’ names, asked, “Your usual?” And then added, “Heading off to Vegas, huh?” She’d seen my status update.

Some may find this intimacy alarming. I found it oddly comforting. I bet this is what it was like for my grandparents, in a time when communities were close-knit; when someone knew if you were going on a trip or noticed if you didn’t show up somewhere. But this is just one of many parallels between our behaviors today and those of our grandparents. Here are a few more ways I think that social media has bridged these generations, culturally speaking…. [Read Full Article]
- By Josh Rose

A Reply:

I wish I could accept this analogy to his grandparents experience, but I can’t.  It doesn’t work for the very reason he says it does.

Technology and social media have changed everything—in many ways for the better, and in a few ways for the worse. 

Modern life is no longer a community of caring individuals as it was 2-3 generations ago.  We delude ourselves that our tweets and Facebook status updates puts us “in greater touch” with those who really care about us, but I don’t think it is the same thing as human contact and never will be.  I’m certain it fills a need and a function, otherwise why would 500 million have Facebook accounts (I am not one of them). 

I don’t believe in a Norman Rockwell version of America or the World, and I don’t necessarily think life was better in 1930.  People were confined to roles and limited by their color, religion, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.  Life was harder and clearly more challenging.  But in some ways it was better.  Neighbors cared about each other.  Family included grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins all living within a few miles, a few blocks or next door.  People left their homes unlocked and room would be made at the dinner table for a hungry stranger.

Social media fulfills a need.  It informs; it shares; it even enlightens from time to time.  But let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that it brings us closer together in ways our grandparents would understand.

Darryl Tell

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