While I consider myself to be pretty technologically savvy, there are always dark corners and unexplored alleys of my social media landscape. I was thrust into one of these new places this morning as my computer started ringing, and I couldn’t figure out why.
Flipping around from link to link, I noticed quickly a box that said “Bert would like to start a video chat with you” on my Google homepage. While I knew video chatting technology existed, I was unaware of this Google Hangouts feature. (I’ll also admit that I’m not a big Skyper or video chatter … so most of this is new to me.) Since I absolutely adore Bert and haven’t spoken in two years, I decided that I needed to figure out what to do postehaste! I clicked on the link and had to download/install a little program, and I was worried for a moment that this process might take a long time. It didn’t. In fact, within a minute’s time, the video chat was initializing. A window with my face popped up, and noticing that the angle of my laptop made my double chin a bit pronounced, I had to slightly adjust my animated “selfie”.
On the screen the words appeared, “Waiting for others to join the conversation.” This lasted a few moments, and then there it was … my friend! How amazing! We spent four years in school together, side by side. We were the peas in the proverbial pod. We had loads of good times and have shared wonderful moments of life together. Since this happened years ago, we formulated our friendship back in “pre-cell phone” and “pre-social media” times. Granted, it was on the cusp of the technological movement, but I wasn’t particularly an early adopter. Then we graduated (and by design of the jobs that we would take), so we would never live near each other again. Life went on … separately.
But then something amazing happened … technology. Cell phones, email … better yet Facebook. We started being able to connect more and more. This was all good; in fact, great. But then this morning … we (I) crossed into yet more new and more wonderful territory. Thousands of miles away … I could see his smiling face again. See the emotions. Tell our old jokes … the ones without words. The ones with just a look, a smile, a pause, a glimmer in the eye. I could show my kids, my life, my cat, my whatever I wanted.
Why am I rambling about any of this? Because this is the beauty of social media … and the reason we will continue to strive to make more. The connection, the love, the togetherness, the realtime. In a word … the social.
I’m writing these blogs because of a class that studies social media, the social internet. Some of this study can seem clinical, numeric, calculating, diagnostic … but at its core, no matter how much computing, machinery, technology that we find on top of it … it is messily, chaotically, wondrously, beautifully, fundamentally human. It is “social” media.
Thanks for phoning me on “the Google” this morning, Bert. Love you, man. You have no idea how good it was to see you again. =)