Social Media lives on – 1/8/2014 

 November 8, 2014

By  Jana Hassett

Social Media – Not New, Just Different

Petroglyphs - Social Media
Newspaper Rock,UT

Mankind has been depending on social media for hundreds of years. Beginning with the Petroglyphs and Pictographs of the early American Indians, Newspaper Rocks are everywhere in the desert southwest. Hyroglyphics are found throughout the European nations, and even Spain has a collection of messages. These early tweets are no less difficult for us to understand than our grandparents have with hashtags.

We advanced from scratching on rocks to printing on paper. Thousands of trees were cut and processed for paper. Paper for general interest publications, magazines, tabloids, catalogues, you name it and it was created. Until WWII, then the government controlled the use of paper and ink and frugal families began to think carefully about it’s consumption. Newspapers started being recycled through the use of rollers that made fireplace logs. Burning them was better than putting them in the landfill. But change continued to march through.

Lodges became the next “social media” opportunity. Eagles, Elk, Moose, Masonic – thousands of lodges opened around the country. These were places for like-minded folks in their 50’s + to gather to dance, party, and share the tweets of the day. Today, as I travel around the west I see many of these buildings abandoned, closed, and in worse shape than the newspapers. Their members have passed on or changed their social habits to be “in touch” with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Many carry cell phones and have learned to tweet to their families.

Today social media continues to grow. There are so many different “sites” available it’s hard to keep up. Each new provider appeals to a different age group or area of the world. Different languages, different cultures, and different life styles. Religion continues to play a major role in social media, as do crime and greed. The continued advancements of technology adds to the many changes in social media. More Newspaper Rocks Online – fewer general interest printed material – less need for TV and their “news/entertainment” centers. More direct communication, but less personal. Much like the original “Newspaper Rocks” – chipped by a lone member of their tribe, sent on it’s way by the occasional visitor, and pondered over by future generations to ask, “just what was the purpose of the hashtag?”.

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