What Did We Do Before Social Media

If you are like me, mornings always start with a quick stretch. A stretch, that is, to reach my smartphone on my bedside table.

And from the comfort of my warm bed, I can scroll through all the emails, Facebook updates and tweets that have come through overnight.

Before I’ve even set one foot on the ground, I already know all the news I need to know – because it’s right there at my fingertips. Instagram will show me how amazing someone’s home office is; Twitter will inform me if anyone famous has died, and a Facebook update from a friend will let me know to skip my walk because a storm is brewing outside.

So what did we do before social media transformed our lives with its ability to inform us, entertain us and connect us like never before.

Let’s take a trip back to the early 1990s, where the story of Don’t Mention the Rock Star begins. Back then, if you wanted to get all the latest news from the comfort of your bed, you required a willing partner (or trained dog) to bring you the newspaper. Or you had to tune into the radio news on the hour or brazen the mind-numbing infomercials on breakfast television. Most people didn’t have cable, so news 24/7 was not readily available.

Phones were either that thing connected to a wall socket or clunky cells with aerials that could take out an eye. The sight of an answering machine with no reassuring red blinking light was the equivalent of receiving no comments or likes on a Facebook post. No one booted up their computer until it was time to start work and the information superhighway certainly wasn’t on the map. You got your news and entertainment from newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. Or over your backyard fence or at the water-cooler at work.

If you would like to re-experience this era of technological deprivation, I am currently offering a special Life Without Social Media Survival Course. It will show you how people shared information – back in the day – and explain how you can get those social moments without social media.

Facebook: Gather a group of friends, add copious amounts of food and drink, and viola – you will soon discover who’s got a new job, whose relationship has turned complicated and so on. You’ll even get to pretend to like all their Kodak moments when someone whips out their baby photos or holiday snaps.

Twitter: Seriously, before the arrival of this microblogging site, if anyone said they wanted to communicate in 140 characters or less, people would have looked at them as if they were #crazy. It would be like reverting back to the days of the telegram. STOP. But try it out at a pub, during a tribute to hair bands of the 90s. You will only be able to talk in short, shouted bursts and chances are no one will be able to follow the conversation. Sounds exactly like Twitter, doesn’t it?

Instagram: Grab a Polaroid and take arty snaps of your chicken parmigiana and white chocolate mud cake. Leave them for people to find on bus seats, in the pages of a library book, on the pin-up board of your workplace. If you want to know if your friend is wearing that LBD to the party tonight, the one you both picked up for a steal at the end-of-season sale – ring and ask. And if you want to admire amazing pictures of sunsets and other gifts of nature, treat yourself to a coffee table book.

Pinterest: You’ll need a cork noticeboard and a stack of magazines. Take a pair of scissors, cut out any photos that appeal – that divine pair of heels, the show home kitchen you covet, the model with the amazing physique, inspiring words of wisdom –  and attach them to the cork board with a pin. As an alternative, a scrapbook and glue works well too. For bonus points, plan to spend no more than an hour on the task – and end up whiling away half the day!

YouTube: Edit all those highlights recorded on your family’s camcorder on to one mastertape. Slot this homemade masterpiece into your VCR and watch all those embarrassing caught-on-tape moments unfold. Oh look, there’s your neighbour’s grumpy cat, your mad uncle doing some dodgy dancing at a wedding, someone walking smack-bang into a glass door and a snippet of a TV cartoon your younger brother accidentally recorded over footage of your sister singing in the car.

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