The ease of social media is becoming more and more apparent. Technologies that were once considered difficult for everyday people to utilize are becoming easier and easier for the average joe to not only figure out, but to use on a regular basis. I remember when AOL Instant Messenger was pretty much the only “instant” contact I could have with my friends. And even that was a hassle because I had to plug our family telephone line into the computer, wait through the process of clicks and beeps while the modem connected to the internet, and then waited while the information loaded at slower-than-molasses speeds. I remember that my usage was also limited, because I could only use the internet during the evening, and my parents would not allow extended use because it tied up the phone line and prevented them from making and receiving calls.
If I want to get in touch with my friends today, I can still use AOL Instant Messenger – from the ease of my laptop connected through a FIOS connection or from the ease of my cell phone. I can message them either through a wall post, a direct message, or a chat message through Facebook or MySpace. I can send a tweet that directly updates through Twitter, my blog and Facebook with the push of a button.
Barring my relationship with my husband, my experience with multimedia and social media would be nill. I grew up in an area where cell phone reception is scattered, internet connectivity is generally dial-up, DSL or the slowest cable connection I’ve ever been on, and technology could generally rival that of a decade ago. Having someone so close that is tapped into the nerve center of emerging technology and media has taken me from behind the curve to slightly ahead of it.
Having the knowledge and expertise endowed by my husband’s interest in new media, I fully realize how special moments can be shared instantaneously. Thanks to him, my family was able to utilize the internet to share Christmas Eve in Western New York with my aunt and cousins in California via a live video conference, from the comforts of my grandmother’s living room. My mother uses the same capabilities to video conference on a regular basis with my aunt. It gives my grandmother the opportunity to not only hear my aunt’s voice but to also see her, her children and her grandchildren. So yes, when they say that anyone can use new media…that even includes an 87-year-old grandmother, great grandmother and great-great grandmother.