post

The Autograph Book

When I was in elementary school, one big fad at the time, especially for girls, was owning an autograph book. You’d go around collecting “autographs” from your friends, your classmates, and even your teachers.

Most people wrote little poems like:

“2 Y’s U R
2 Y’s U B
I think U R
2 Y’s 4 Me”

Or:

“Grandpa getting old and gray
Whiskers always in the way
Grandma eats them in her sleep
Thinks she’s eating Shredded Wheat”

Well, you can’t beat that!

I didn’t have an actual book at first, so I stapled some pieces of paper together and used that instead. Then I finally bought a real autograph book at the local drug store and enthusiastically thrust it in front of my school friends.

What made me think of that book recently was when I was trying to decide what the equivalent of Facebook was back in the 60’s. What did we do instead of posting on Facebook? Let me think…

Well, besides our autograph books, if a friend had a birthday, you’d give them a card. And maybe the “bumps”.

If something exciting happened in your life, you told your friends in person or by phone. Telephone. With a rotary dial.

You were lucky if you had a personal photograph of anything to show people. In most cases, only the grown-ups in the family had a camera. A real camera with a roll of film in it.

Then you had to wait a couple of weeks while getting the photos developed to see if the pictures had even turned out. And they were ALL black and white photos in the 60s.

I don’t ever remember anyone taking a picture of their plate of food. Interesting.

If you were really high tech like my uncle, you owned a movie camera. The only reason any moving images exist of me as a child is because of him. Thank you, Uncle George.

The internet changed a lot of things. And Facebook has become a place where you can easily do all of the above and more.

Say happy birthday to your friends. Post videos of your recent adventure or your silly cat. Show people what you had for dinner last night. Um, yeah.

When Facebook and Instagram and WhatsApp went down for a long chunk of time last week, I didn’t really think much of it at first. Websites go down sometimes. Big deal.

But as the down time went on, I sauntered over to Twitter to see if I could find out what was happening. There, I found a plethora of posts from people bragging that they weren’t ON Facebook anyway, so they didn’t care.

A day or two after Facebook had returned to normal, I questioned my Facebook friends, asking if they were affected at all by the website’s down time. Most were hardly aware.

One friend said if Facebook was down any longer, she might begin to notice her puppy pics piling up. A number of friends said they were too busy doing “real people stuff” to notice at all.

Several of them realized how much time they “wasted” on Facebook because of the outage, making them rethink their participation on the platform.

One said she missed Messenger because it was the only way she could communicate with a special friend. And then she added that she felt especially bad “for all the anti-vaxxers that didn’t have access to their ‘research’.”

Followed by a laughing emoji, of course.

Facebook has had plenty of very negative publicity lately, especially after a whistleblower recently testified before Congress. The former Facebook employee brought with her a treasure trove of internal documents showing how the company hides what it knows about its negative effect.

Now Facebook is suggesting Frances Haugen could face legal consequences for her actions.

It reminds me that, even though my Facebook friends are all wonderful, there are a lot more nefarious things going on there that we don’t necessarily see. And considering Zuckerberg’s belligerence and refusal to take any responsibility, maybe it’s time to consider abandoning Facebook altogether.

It would be fun to send him this little message:

By hook or by crook
I’ll be the last to write in your book…