“Too cute not to repost….” or”Beautiful!” I find myself writing one of these phrases often on Facebook as I repost 80 year old swing dancers, artists painting pictures, children playing games, animals being curious, even music that speaks to me that day, or a particularly moving slam poetry piece. I want someone else to be moved to laughter or tears. I want to share. I crave connection with my virtual friends with which I exchange posts. I repost and wait for a couple of my friends to push the “like” button…..if I don’t get a couple likes on my post I feel disappointed. I do realize how stupid this sounds… a 50 year old hanging out on Facebook trying to make someone laugh or cry or smile. It’s just weird where life takes us.
The internet wasn’t even around when I was in College computer classes called Intro to FORTRAN, Basic programming, and Information Systems. These classes gave me no glimpse of the future of the personal computer or the internet. I think truthfully my interaction with Science Fiction books and movies were far more effective at preparing me for the future. And yet here we are in the future of yesterday where computer cards were punched one line at a time on top lines of cards that were stacked several inches thick just to get a computer to search an alphabetized list and carry out a couple simple commands. I remember long hours in the basement of a university building with its ivy clad brick walls and concrete tiled floors. I remember the isolation and the impersonal interaction as I passed my program through a partition to a person who could submit my program to a glass enclosed, room sized computer, and perhaps this time my program would run correctly. I would know in the morning.
This very impersonal system has grown into the internet that connects me with relatives from Germany and Brazil who don’t even speak English. I often have to use a translator programs to communicate. It connects me to an exchange student in Korea and allows me to watch live concerts happening in Europe and other places around the globe. It is indeed weird where life takes us. It is not so much about where we have been but where things are going. I am so excited about the future and I look forward to another 50 years of computer evolution. I imagine this feeling is similar to the feeling my Grandfather had when he reminisced about the first two automobiles he saw in Aberdeen, South Dakota as he watched men walk on the moon via television.