We used to get a phone call from our mothers once a week with the news from home: weddings, funerals, births, stories of who was doing what (and with whom). Now we can just login and have all of that same information in real-time, with social media.
My buddy recently heard about a wedding proposal in his family via Facebook, and he joked that social media has enabled us to tell our moms what’s happening, instead of the other way around. I laughed because I hadn’t experienced that yet, but the next time I opened Facebook, it happened to me.
I was scrolling down through my friend’s status updates, and there was one of my relatives with a message that said “Susie is… knocked up.” Woah. Hadn’t heard that through the family grapevine yet…
As a freelancer, I spend tons of time online, either writing, researching, or promoting my work. I started using Facebook so that I could do more networking for my writing, but now I also keep up with friends and family there. I may not always call them to find out how they’re doing, but I’m tuned into their channel just the same, through social media.
I also use Twitter quite a bit throughout the day, partially as a micro-blog, and partially to communicate the latest news and cool links from people I follow. I can ask a question, and if someone has an answer, I hear back almost immediately. It’s become an important tool for me.
Status updates and Tweets are more limited in some aspects of expression than a phone call or face-to-face conversation, but they are richer in others.
Social media messages:
- Can be in real-time, posted live
- Are quicker, with no waiting for someone to answer their phone or to leave a message
- Can have a link or picture or music in them for additional context
- Make you un-shushable
The phone is still great, and meeting in person is even better, but when you can’t do either, then social media is the perfect compromise.
If our mothers took their power to the web, there’s no telling what would happen.
We’d have Grandma on Twitter, telling family stories, 140 letters at a time…
[Image: Alessio85 at Flickr]