Even though a lot of people seem to think otherwise, Facebook and Twitter are not the first social media ever invented. There has been a long line of media whose sole goal was to make social interaction easier. And ever since that first social medium, actual social interaction has been on the decline. That’s not just an opinion, it’s fact as the case of the ‘birthday celebration’ will show.
The oldest social medium that is still in use is that which was once known as ‘snail mail’. I’d prefer to use merely ‘mail’ but hey, I’m over thirty. Back when we were still living in caves, there was no such thing as mail. When someone was throwing a birthday bash, everyone who had any interest at all would have to show up. And bring a goat. But even when we were still burning witches, there were already (extremely wealthy) people who would send a messenger with a birthday on such an occassion since they had better things to do than travel two months to show up at some prince’s party. Understandable perhaps, but still… where had the love gone?
A couple of decades ago, in the Postman Pat era, matters had gotten even worse. Civilization had commercialized and long hand-written letters had been replaced with preprinted texts saying something like: “Have an oink of a birthday” and the sender had only to sign his name.
In the meantime, telephone had arrived. instead of laboring on selecting a card, purchasing stamps, finding a pen and the address of the birthday boy/girl and then bringing all these things together in one sleek package to be sent off, now all we needed was a telephone number and a bit of decency. Some would argue that having actual contact over a message in mere writing would be preferable, but I’d tell them to go take a hike. That’s not the point.
Then Bill Gates and all his friends arrived on the scene and they brought us e-mail. Damn you, you electronic fiends. We no longer needed to leave the house to buy cheerful coloured pieces of paper with ‘Still sexy at 60′ pre-lied on it. We could simply select an e-card, copy and paste wishes we sent last year onto them and e-mail the loved one. Or appreciated one. Or even a colleague we don’t give a hoot about. It’s no hassle anyway.
Whoever invented the cell-phone
Next comes along some Finnish bloke called ‘Nokia’ and they said ‘Hey, let’s start connecting people’ and they gave us all cell-phones and text messages. in these cell phones we’d store all birthdays of everyone we knew and we pre-write ‘happy b’day’ as a concept message and when we hear ‘bleep’ and see: “it’s Jane Doe’s birthday” we can instantly send them a b’day wish without even turning on a computer or getting up from the toilet.
Now, and only now, do we arrive in the Facebook and Twitter period where congratulating people for making it through another year alive has become an absolute farce. This stuff is already on your smart phone and you’re uploading your whereabouts anyway so when you see ‘it’s some arses’ birthday today’ all you have to do is click ‘like’ and that’s it. people actually feel that that has anything to do with showing proper respect. That;s not congratulating thank you very much. It’s a slap in the face. With your grandmothers knickers even. ‘Social’ media? I don’t think so.