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What if your parents had used social media?

Have you ever wondered: what if your parents had had social media?

What types of things might they have shared? And would you have wanted to read it?

My parents were born in 1950 and met while they were teenagers; my mother gave birth to me three days before her 20th birthday. All I have now of their early history are the black and white photographs they’ve roughly divided between them since divorcing when I was in primary school, and some sketchy affectionate and wistful stories my mother occasionally shares.

I know, from their photographs, that they were good looking and not afraid to pose for the camera. Sadly there are no letters, postcards, newspaper clippings or diaries to tell their history. If social media had been around then – or something similar to nudge people toward recording their daily lives – I might have a better picture of the types of people they were and what they were going through.

To write this blog post, I’ll need to employ a lot of speculation. Based on my knowledge of my parents’ personalities, I think I can pretty safely say my parents would have used social media as follows:

Selfies

Oh, there would have been plenty of selfies. You only have to look at the snaps of my father in his skinny jeans, wide-collared shirts and fat belts, with tousled blond hair, leaning against a wall, to know he would’ve been a big believer in sharing his good looks with a wider audience. My mother’s selfies might have been a little more coy, but I’ve no doubt she would have employed Instagram to capture her smouldering eyeliner, miniskirts and leather jacket.

Prakky's mother, 1970s
Prakky’s mother, 1970s

Facebook

Now, this is where things get sticky. My mother might have posted  passive aggressive posts about their relationship, what time my father was getting home, how bored she was and how overbearing her Dutch mother-in-law was. Dad would be very much into the ‘like for a rate’ updates while a teen, but in his 20s I don’t think he would have been sharing many status updates. He might take part in Facebook groups about fast cars and Jimi Hendrix.

Twitter

My mother would have shared tweets about wine o’clock and would have tried desperately to be tweeted by her favourite celebrities like John Lennon or Barry Gibb. My father – I don’t think he’d be a tweeter.

Tumblr and more

My father enjoyed painting when very young, and would no doubt have enjoyed following artists and creative communities and musicians’ blogs. He could have had a Tumblr to share art work or quote from writers; he might even have joined communities like Deviantart and Redbubble or shared his shipyard and wharf photographs on FlickR.

What does this all mean?

I’m leaving behind a wealth of content for my sons to delve into – provided it’s still available as a readable format, and they’re at all interested!

Prakky and brother of Prakky, 1970s
Prakky and brother of Prakky, 1970s

I tweet and use Instagram regularly and I’d be surprised if my sons have the patience or desire to read through them all. I also know that the sites and tools I’m using today may not exist in the future or be somehow inaccessible. If I’m very keen to use my social media content to document my life for future generations, I’ll download and archive it, leaving instructions for how to access the content after I die. There are services which help with this, which I’ve written about before in Deadly Serious About Social Media.

Many of us are documenting our lives and our children’s lives (which I’ve written about this previously in Who will remember the children.) I share photos of my sons and occasionally funny stories about something they’ve said, or status updates full of pride for their achievements. I try to keep these innocuous and non-embarrassing, but I don’t kid myself that my definition of embarrassing is the same as theirs. And my sons’ view of my social media stories relating to them will change over the years as they mature. I’m conscious that I’m documenting not just my own life, but theirs.

How about you?

Can you imagine being able to look back on your parents’ Facebook walls to see stories of their evolving relationship? How they felt about their own parents, school, the politics and events of their time? Imagine seeing online photographs of your progress while growing up? Those photos of you taking a bath in the kitchen sink, chewing on a teddy bear’s ear, or sleeping with long-lashed eyes closed peacefully? There’d be a lot to cherish and marvel over, but a lot that would mortify you and perhaps even cause you to shed a tear.

How about a personal blog, or tweets  about their daily lives? Instagram photos of their meals?

Do you wish your parents had had social media?

Facebook flashbacks: the laughter and tears of abandoned pages

Do you remember what Facebook Group you joined first?

I remember joining Derek Zoolander’s Group for Really Ridiculously Good Looking People mostly because everyone I knew was in it (and of course because I belonged there). I also joined a fan group for The Chaser, the ABC TV series.

Facebook flashback: SuperPoke!
Facebook flashback: SuperPoke!

That was years ago and I’ve since left both groups, but it got me thinking about ageing Facebook Groups and Pages.

We’ve all seen abandoned Facebook spaces, and aren’t they are sad? They’re often overrun by spam or the bleak message ‘there are no Recent Posts’. It’s like spider webs are hanging from the corner of the screen and everyone’s partying in the room next door, leaving the page to its lonesome self.

What about the oldest Facebook pages? What are they?

I Googled the question and there were few relevant, reliable results. I searched the topic in Facebook and you can imagine the messy results I received there. Facebook’s oldest pages simply aren’t easy to find (but if you come across a link, I’d appreciate you sharing it!)

While I was looking through Facebook, I did find this gem: Students Against Public Facebook Access (Official Petition) That’s right – they didn’t want Facebook to continue to extend its membership into the non-college world! My, how that horse has bolted.

Old Facebook pages and groups can be a time capsule – a screenshot of an era that can be fascinating and funny.

Here’s some Facebook pages well past their use-by dates:

Ok enough is enough, send in the thunderbirds to catch Osama bin Laden!!!

Official Petition Against the K-Fed and Britney Breakup

Athens 2004 Olympics

Kevin 07 vs Howard

Triple J Hottest 100 2008 Predictions

Julia Gillard for Prime Minister

We all know Joey and Dawson are soul mates

Anthony Callea – The Prayer

Like if you think crazy frog is freaking annoying!!!

It was big news in April 2010 when the American Library of Congress said it would archive Twitter. (Did you know this project is still under construction – see this article on the Library of Congress Twitter Archive One Year Later).

But who’s archiving Facebook?

If you’re running company/official pages or communities online, it’s important you make your own backups and have an archive. But for future generations, who’s going to maintain the “Library of Facebook”? If anyone can find me that answer too, I’d be grateful …

Who Gives a Hoot? What happens when sites go down?

I was staring at my PC screen recently.

Staring at an owl wearing a hard hat. Hootsuite was down for maintenance and it was darn annoying.

It brought home the fact that I rely on Hootsuite a great deal to manage multiple social media accounts. Many of us do it now – we’re using Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Seesmic, Facebook, YouTube, FlickR, YouTube, Blogger – for business.

When our telephone line goes down, we call our phone provider. If the electricity fizzles out, we call the building manager. If the newspaper doesn’t get delivered to the office on time, we can call the newsagent and ask what’s going on. They’re all being paid by us. They’ve got service agreements with us. And there are consequences to those services being unavailable.

But when happens when our free online tools fall over?

Not much.

Services like Hootsuite, quite rightly, do not promise they’ll always be there for you. In its terms, owner Invoke Media states in part:

“Your use of the Service is at your sole risk. The service is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis … Invoke Media does not warrant that (i) the service will meet your specific requirements, (ii) the service will be uninterrupted, timely, secure, or error-free, (iii) the results that may be obtained from the use of the service will be accurate or reliable, (iv) the quality of any products, services, information, or other material purchased or obtained by you through the service will meet your expectations …” http://hootsuite.com/terms

But it’s no fickle matter if these services are unavailable. Increasingly, we’re relying on free social platforms as main communication channels. We’ve all read about major companies like Pepsi, Coca Cola, Ford and Holden devoting more resources to sites like Facebook, rather than official sites. When these online tools are gone, it’s an interruption to our services.

Imagine a world where social media is ‘taken away’ (hideous, isn’t it?) The Social Media God decides the experiment is over, and we all need to go back and play on our standard dotcoms.

Boom! In an instant, you’ve lost your thousands of Fans – their names, locations, likes and dislikes. You’ve lost all the comments you’ve been gathering, all the interaction you’ve built up. You’ve lost photos and videos. Not to mention search engine listings.

That’s why it’s important to back up that information. How many of us do that? When was the last time you archived a social media account? (I’m making a mental note …)

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