A few months ago I made a post about my older daughter, who is now 13, setting up and using an account on Facebook. The next day I wrote another post that linked to an article that talked about how social networking was actually CHANGING the younger generation. Earlier this week a new study was released that said texting has become the primary way teenagers communicate. They text more frequently than they speak aloud!
Here's more evidence that social networking is changing us: This past weekend the daughter of a friend of mine got married,* and when the vows were finished the minister said, "I now pronounce you 'Man' and 'Wife.' You may update your Facebook status." At which point the bride and groom pulled their cell phones out of their tuxedo and wedding dress and actually updated their status from "single" to "married" BEFORE kissing one another.
They were making a joke, of course, but there's a little bit of truth behind every joke. We are becoming as married to our social networks and to the accompanying cell phones, netbooks, and computers as we are to our spouses. And our Facebook "status" is nearly as real to us as our actual status is.
My wife even sometimes refers to our home computer as my partner in an affair. She has a name for the computer: Della (You only get one guess what model of computer I have at home). And lately, thanks to Facebook, I've started referring to the computer as Dale.
And I've noticed the changes in other places, too. I call my parents less often than I used to, and they call me less often as well. Why do we need to talk? We're reading all about it online. And when I run into friends, we no longer have to ask, "So...what's been going on with you?" We already know what's been going on with each other because we've been reading about it. Instead of that age old question, we're able to jump right into the meat of the matter with, "So...you and your daughter have been fighting lately. What's going on?" or "So...did your mother make it home from the hospital?"
Don't hear me complaining about it. I'm not. I don't really see this evolution as either good or bad. It just is. But I'd daresay that it's the biggest cultural shift I've seen in my entire life...save maybe for the way we all changed after September 11, 2001.
I know we've all changed because I read about it on Facebook every year on the 11th!
*There's a post for another day...the fact that I'm old enough to have friends whose kids are getting married! Some days I can hardly believe that I am married!