We get new Facebook interfaces pretty regularly these days. When the new layout, feed and apps were unveiled, I saw that the site was making money. This post is not about profits or privacy; it is about how our grandparents felt when they could not set the time on a VCR.
The key to our survival as a planet and species is undeniably tied to technology. The scientific community generally agrees that Earth is above its carrying capacity. We have too few resources for our people – and our people grow as our resources are consumed. Technology, not yet invented, seems to be the answer to growing consumption and population; you can infer the alternative.
The key to harnessing technology is embracing change. I remember asking my parents, after showing them how to use Word or Excel, with a sarcastic grin: “Will the day come where I will be as technologically uninclined as you?”
New layouts have sprung up over the months and years. Often, I wanted to quit Facebook. I did not understand social media, and I longed for the days of:
I still do.
The days of heading off to class, and coming home to residence and keeping track of my wall post count. Actually noticing when someone changed his or her political views to something witty – or added a new favourite quote. These were the days when stalking took some effort, and looking over your shoulder at the library was the biggest part of the thrill.
I was competing in Boccia when I started using Facebook and I had a personal website. I was also starting off my motivational speaking skills and trying to market myself. Everything happens online now. Marketing in the real world is mattering less and less.
I am still learning. I am learning how to link from Facebook (and Twitter) while optimising my Google Adsense ad placements on this blog, so people will find worthwhile links and click on them. This earns me some income to support my Paralympic goals. I am learning how to get my message to the world.
The Internet is full of cool bits of life; Facebook, Twitter, Digg and others, show people where to go. My friends and I used to share links over MSN and ICQ of neat, inspiring, funny and informative stuff. Now we are all sharing with each other, all the time. We live the ultimate collaboration.
I felt fear creep in when Facebook allowed non-university members to join without invitation too. As an athlete who aims to inspire and innovate, I was afraid of having access to the entire planet.
It is the same fear that previous generations have of DVDs, and microwaves, and calculators, and spell check, and the Internet.
What are we really afraid of?