Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Doll and a Computer

     I remember when our elementary school first got a computer.  We got to go once a week to the lab and play Oregon Trail.  It wasn't like today's games with the detailed graphics, it was dot matrix, little green and black dots that made up crude pictures.  When we got a computer in our house, we were one of the first of my friends.  And we didn't have public use internet, it hadn't been invented yet.  We had to do everything off of Dos Prompt and when you printed things you couldn't just put in a sheet, you had to load your pile of paper and make sure the holes lined up properly.  It wasn't until I was in college that the internet started gaining popularity in homes (I mainly used the computer lab at school).  At that point though you still had to use landlines and everything went really slow.  The first time I used Yahoo Messenger was in 1997 and it was the coolest thing, but the messages weren't nearly as instant as they are now, and a lot of people didn't know what it was.  But if you mentioned ICQ chat, a select group of people knew exactly what you meant (typically your WoW players).

     Things have really changed.  Most every home in the US has a computer, with internet.  It's rare to find a cell phone that can't access the internet.  Most fast food joints have free WiFi.  Computers have become a part of our lifestyle.  And regardless of what you think about computers, and the internet, and technology in general, computers and the internet are going to continue to become more and more a part of our daily life.  What I find interesting, and the main reason I decided on this blog topic today, is how well people think they know you based on your internet presence.     

     It's a well known fact that I am active on Facebook.  It's always surprising to me when people can't understand how I am able to get online so often.  First of all, I'm a stay at home mom and there are times during the week where no kids are at home.  Also, I have a laptop, and my laptop is in a central location.  So if I am sitting down watching Dora or some other obnoxious show, I jump on real quick and see what other people are up to, and sometimes update my status.  I have the internet on my phone.  So sometimes when I am stuck in a waiting room, or in line somewhere, it's quite easy to send a quick status update.

   I use Facebook (email) as a way to keep up with people in a way that I don't have the time to on a regular basis.  And a fact about me - I hate talking on the phone.  I didn't like it before the internet, I don't care for it now.  There are very few people that I will actually take the time to talk to on the phone, and I can garuntee you I am doing 3 other things at the same time.  If I were to talk face to face (or ear to ear) with all the people with whom I am connected to every day, then I really would never get anything done.

    Here is something else you should know though too.  I don't share my whole life on Facebook.  What you see posted is actually about 1/4th of what goes on minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day, week to week in my life.  It's a snapshot of my life, but not my life.  I am willing to share other stuff with you, but you need to know it's not going to happen through a news feed.  And I understand that it's the same way for most everyone else too.  And that's ok.  In reality it's still more then you or I, if we aren't extremely close, would know about each other if we frequently talked or saw each other in person.

   My point is, and I promise I am getting there, is that technology has come a long way.  And things like Facebook are great tools for people like me to share a glimpse, and get a glimpse of life.  But don't assume that everything you read is, well everything.  And don't assume you know a person, or how they divide their time, or really, anything, based just on what you see them doing on Facebook.  It's important to still have relationships, to do stuff with people, to get off the couch, or the chair and live life.  Just make sure you bring your phone and send a picture to Facebook or update your status so I can get a glimpse of just what keeps you going.   

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