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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Social Media

Social Media.  Love it, or hate it, we are all in this thing together.  I will warn you that in the beginning of this post, I may sound like a real cynical soul, but deep down, you probably can relate to at least some of what I am trying to convey.


I admit it.  I have twice deleted my Facebook profile, because I grew tired of...

The negativity...
The unrelenting narcissism...
The advertising...
The ad nausea of political rants...
[Unnecessary] Pictures of wounded animals...
or babies who are seriously ill...
The ignorance...
The unoriginal 
The overshared...
The perverts...
The selfies...
The cryptic posters...
The attention seekers...
The game requests...
Facebook "Suggestions"....
Chat...
and...who the hell is this person?

I could go on all day.  But, not long after I deleted my profile, I somehow felt I was missing out on life, and reinstated my account.   There are innumerable factors why I dislike this social media platform, and only a few reasons why I like it.... So, why do I stay?  I don't scroll down the "feed" for a long time, to see what I missed. I generally look at a few of the newest posts, maybe click "like" and then get disgusted or bored, really fast.  The suggestions I receive feel like an intrusion and to me, the overall redundancy is obnoxious.  Folks, let's be honest, there is nothing that is unique or original.  It's all been done...over and over again.  


facebook16

And, sometimes, there are no words that can explain stupidity.  Here is a hilarious look at a few of the stupidest things ever conveyed: Dumb Facebook Posts


I will be the first to tell you that I am guilty of some of the same posts that I dislike...and I use it to promote this blog....and, yet, I stay.  

Apparently, there is a psychology behind our love of Facebook, that taps into the pleasure center of the brain.  We feel connected to others, and our posts or comments are the means in which others will get to know us, or how we strive to express ourselves, which is the reason we all attempt to present ourselves in the best light.  Yet, there are also good things that happen when we connect to social media, too.  Examples would be finding a lost person, sharing a link to an important event or a news article that you find interesting, supporting a friend or family member during a rough time, or growing your business.



We extract sympathy and feel comforted when we share our feelings.  It is a like receiving a cyber hug (acceptance and understanding) that we all desire. Yet, technology and communication march on.  Go ahead.  Pick your poison: Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Reddit and LinkedIn.  I am guilty of connecting to at least 6 of these social media sites, and recognize the addictive tendencies attached to having these accounts and there are statistics to support this theory.  
What ever your pain or pleasure may be, as you consider your attachment to any social media platform, it is a means of communication.  


The oldest known form of communication are cave paintings made by Homo Sapiens, which date back to around 35,000 B.C., where man first began to pass along information.  On the island of Sulawesi, in Indonesia are some of the oldest examples of cave paintings of animals ever found  on earth.  Other significant discoveries have been located in the Chauvet Cave, in France, and in the Coliboaia Cave in Romania, dating back approximately 30,000 to 32,000 thousand years ago.

20,000 years passed, and man began to carve information onto rock surfaces.  Known as "petroglyphs", stones were carefully arranged and left (possibly) as a form of a message; symbols were carved into wood or rock formations. 

Next, "Pictographs" became the means in which communication was transmitted.  The difference between petroglyphs and pictograms is that petroglyphs showed an event, but pictograms told a story about the event.  This was a way of recording events chronologically.


Image source: ancientexplores
Pictograms evolved into "ideograms" which are graphic symbols that actually represent an idea. "Their ancestors, the pictograms, could represent only something resembling their form: therefore a pictogram of a circle could represent a sun, but not concepts like 'heat', 'light', 'day' or 'Great God of the Sun'. Ideograms, on the other hand, could convey more abstract concepts, so that for example an ideogram of two sticks can mean not only 'legs' but also a verb 'to walk'.  Because some ideas are universal, many different cultures developed similar ideograms. For example, an eye with a tear means 'sadness' in Native American ideograms in California, as it does for the Aztecs, the early Chinese and the Egyptians." - wikipedia


Image source: thevikingmuseum
Writing then evolved from these methods, and the earliest form of writing is known s the the Futhark. Symbols, numbers or alphabet letters were carved into clay, bone, tortoise shells or rock, known as runes.  To make a long story short... Eventually these symbols were connected, and through phonetics, alphabet letters together formed words.  Words became sentences, and so on.   Think of 
Egyptian hieroglyphs and you will understand that this was one of the first "true" writing systems.  


Image source: google


But ideas that were carved in stone, were not portable.  It was not functional as a means to deliver messages; so, the ancient Egyptians developed papyrus to carry messages.  Papyrus is derived from the pith of a plant bearing the same name, and once formed and dried, they were then written upon and then rolled into scrolls. 

The next evolution was the development of parchment using animal skins and its use was somewhat revolutionary, and differing from papyrus which could crack as they became brittle and fragile.  The parchment sheets were folded and then put together to form the earliest books or codices.  Papyrus was eventually used in the same way, for a long time.  Both mediums were used to record history, scholarly texts, ideas, science, religion and so on.  


Other ancient methods of recording the written word have been found around the world. In India, palm leaves were dried and smoked and used as a writing surface. During the medieval era, pointed or sharp instruments called a stylus, were used on wax tablets.  And, in the Himalayan region, birch bark was used to capture text (specifically, mathematical information). 


Image source: pluspets.net
As we consider historical events, like the conquering of various nations, it is important to remember that speed in delivery is an important factor.  Unrelated, but still relevant, was the development of how urgency invented new ways to swiftly carry news.  Consider Genghis Khan used homing pigeons to deliver messages.  The Romans and Persians used couriers on horse back, and Native Americans used smoke signals to convey warnings or victories.


Eventually, mass printing was invented thanks to Germany's Gutenberg in the mid 1450's, and simultaneous printing was developed.  The printing press is a huge success and other countries such as Italy, Spain, Hungary and Switzerland began to use this invention as a means to produce books.  



Speeding forward to the 1600's printing begins to take a new face in the form of propaganda, and pamphlets are used during Luther's Reformation against the Catholic Church, and later, pamphlets were used for information during the Thirty Year War.  People were thirsty for news, and the printers delivered "Newsheets", which eventually developed into today's newspaper (circa 1609 - 1630's).

Image source:  Time
As early as the 1630's a system of mail delivery was established, during war time, known as official posts, in which letters were transferred via messengers on horse or by boat. 



Signal flags were invented by Robert Hooke, in the year 1684, called Semaphores or Maritime Flags.  This was essentially a way of hand waving using flags. 


In 1836, the Morse Code was developed.

In 1867, the first book published from a typewriter was "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" by Mark Twain. 

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell, introduces the telephone. 


Image source: thesmashinglists
Photography eventually is invented and through much trial and error, becomes a fast an effective way to deliver news. 


Image source:  archives.gov
During the American Civil War, a team of photographers were sent out to the field, to capture images of the conflict and some 10,000 pictures survive.

In 1920, the first commercial radio broadcasts features opera singers from "The Met".


1925, enter the television.

The first word processor is introduced in 1964.

1971, the first email is sent.

1992, "Merry Christmas", via text.

1995, Say hello to my little internet phone.

2004, Facebook is launched.

2006, Twitter begins with a tweet.

And we have come full circle, my Friends.