Social Media = Old Time Party Line
I was looking for a way to describe social media to an older (70+) friend of mine. She views the various platforms with suspicion. Frankly, the stream of information can be a bit overwhelming.
Party lines helped communities communicate. Multiple homes would be on the same loop, allowing affordable telephone service.
Upside? People could call family and friends.
Downside? There was very little privacy. The Nosy Nancy’s and Chatty Cathy’s could all listen in and comment.
Lily Tomlin‘s classic character Ernestine immortalized the role of the telephone operators in the party line world.
The operator connected people, knew what was happening in the community, could tell you the train schedule, send out bulletins, tell you who’s had a baby, what child is in juvie, and even provide weather updates. Our social media platforms are the same. The only difference is social media has a global reach. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other platforms all connect us people around the globe. The software being an automatic switchboard operator.
Facebook, Twitter, Google+ are just a few of the social media services in the cybersphere. They are the party lines of the now. People share the same ‘line’ to communicate their messages or to just keep in touch with family. Like the party lines there can be very little privacy. Unlike the part lines the user can set up targeted communication and privacy settings. Instead of everything be ‘public’, the communication can be limited the specific audience you choose.
The finite world of rural community party lines has gone global. You have control over what you say and to whom you say it.
Pull up a computer and enjoy the conversation.