I grew up with mIRC (I don’t know if everyone was able to live up to the hype of chatting through Internet Relay Chat), and Yahoo! Messenger. But with today’s time, it’s so different. Can I say it’s more technologically advanced or communication system is much faster than before? I think I could.
Social Media: Past to Present
I am still thankful because it’s color-coded, my part of generation used to communicate with “virtual friends” using this chat client. Did you still remember Friendster? Wow!
After school or in between breaks, my friends and I chill out inside an Internet cafe right in front the school entrance gate. I can still remember that an hourly rate for using an Internet-connected desktop would cost you around ₱30-₱60. Mind the modem box that beeps just to connect online with an Internet card. When you open up the mIRC client, you would need to connect to a chat server (chatX, dalnet, undernet, etc.) using your registered username that would serve as your virtual identity, and of course your password. Once you are connected with your credentials, you could join a “room” and randomly click a user to a private chat or barge in the conversation with the rest of the people within that community.
You don’t need to do “Friend Request” like what we’re doing now on Facebook, or “Follow” on Twitter.
mIRC or Microsoft Windows Internet Relay Chat was developed and authored by a British programmer, named Khaled Mardam-Bey. You can always see his thumbnail photo when you open up the chat client before logging in or registering.
As a courtesy, you would need to start the conversation to another user by typing in “ctc” or “care to chat”. Then it would usually be followed by “asl” (age/sex/location) and “wud” (what are you doing) to make sure that the other user was not busy with something else. The chatting would either be long or short depending on how witty you were to come up with a specific topic to discuss or if it was boring, it’s you or the other user would wait in a limbo.
That’s the time you needed a move to look for another online user to talk to.
If the communication went well, there’s EB, the acronym for “eyeball”, the time when you both would meet up in person to say “Hi” perhaps, or to see if the user you were having a conversation was not a bot (a computer-operated user).
What’s fun about this kind of “virtual community” is that every year, operators (users who manage a specific chat room) would organize “Grand Eyeballs”. It’s a huge party of all members where everyone would get a chance to meet up and eat, and drink, and dance. Yes. That was a proper party.
But then again, today is much more different. Social media is bigger, and it became a lifestyle.
With the emerging of high-end technology like smartphones and portable PCs like tablets or phablets (phone tablets), everything is fast and unrealistic in some sense.
On Facebook, you might have thousands of friends whom you have not seen or met in person. The physical being of the one person you call a friend. Compared to the mIRC years, Facebook became the meeting place. You “like” or type in your comments on a status and pretend you laugh or cry, agree or disagree.
I’m guilty of that as well. But what can I do? That’s that today.
I am not judging, but when you link your Facebook or Twitter account to a celebrity, you would feel you are so close to each other. I am sure that true fans still meet their idols at the airport, but what’s amazing today is the fact that people demand the celebrity to follow them back to confirm the relationship.
I have learned from that, too.
Yes, I know quite a lot of people who appeared on television or have their faces printed on newspaper or magazines. But I would not definitely consider them all as my friends unless we have met and shook hands big time. I don’t force, or even, demand that celebrity, or worst, beg that celebrity to follow me back on Facebook or Twitter. What’s happening with that, people?
Again, I am not judging. But I am beginning to understand the big truth that social media is so real that if someone would “unfriend” you on Facebook, or “unfollow” you on Twitter, you no longer consider that person a friend, anymore.
Does it mean that social media became the medium of relationships nowadays? I guess so.
Now, the very painful things about social media today, as per my experiences, are these:
1) When the social media found out that I met a celebrity who went here in Cebu City years ago, I found out days after that some random person created an account on Facebook and pretended to be me because I think that person was trying to contact that celebrity friend of mine to get hold of that celebrity friend’s mobile number.
Truth. Very awful.
2) Anonymous people took advantage on what I do as a blogger and pretended to be me or told other people that they are related to my blog to solicit things.
You don’t do that to me.
Friends from Korea call me a “Power blogger”; a person who blogs about a focused niche or topic and that became his or her identity. I am new to that terminology but I have already heard about that on TV while watching a Korean show on a Korean channel, Arirang. I consider that a compliment, considering that blogging started out as a hobby.
Now, it became a passion and I can say I am getting there to almost becoming successful about it, but other people whom I don’t personally know started to falsely benefit from that.
I know that the Internet is publicly open to everyone, but please, if you copy an article that I wrote, have the generosity to credit me back and don’t make it your own.
3) As much as I would love blogging, but I have never ended up doing such while I’m taking a poop. I always set aside time on when to blog. And I always make sure that if I interact with people online, if meeting them in person is not possible, at least I would respond to their email with a personal touch.
And if ever I would meet them, I wave my hellos or shake hands, not that always staring on my smartphone checking for something else on Facebook and not to even smile to the person I am meeting. That’s a total no-no. But yes, for others, it’s the truth.
When we dine out for a good lunch or dinner or share a table for a coffee break, you can put down your smartphones aside, can’t you? Be genuinely talking, smiling, laughing and communicating to the other person. That’s a great opportunity to return the interaction in a physical sense.
Sad. But it’s the truth.
That’s what I think about social media. I agree to the fact that we only remember our friends’ birthday because Facebook notified us about it.
Does it mean that Facebook is much more caring than you to your friend? I guess so, yes.
With the fast growing technology, I can share my agreement to the same sentiment my elder sister had quoted when her birthday arrived years ago, saying, “Where have all the greeting cards gone?”
It’s still exciting that you keep on receiving printed cards and letter. But on what’s happening today with social media, everything turned out to be something that we could wish for.
Social media is the interpretation of our being today. Very sad, but it’s the truth because yes, that’s that.
What are your thoughts about this? I hope that if you have read this post, you would share your ideas through commenting below.