Here’s to Social Media, Tin Cans, and Turkey on Thanksgiving

Growing up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, there was a period of my life when I was an avid user of tin cans and string to communicate with Bruce Schaeffer across the driveway separating our houses. We both lived on the second floor of our respective two family homes. Until we pulled the string tightly at both ends, we weren’t really “online.” But once the string was pulled taut and I could recognize the muffled, “Hey, can you hear me?” that sounded like Bruce, I was in heaven.

The fact that I could hear my friend’s voice coming from this rudimentary device represented a technological breakthrough of the first order. Although I didn’t know it at the time,  I was experiencing my first personal and private communications device. The only thing in the world that could have been better was the new, but way too pricey, walkie-talkies for kids.

Dick Tracy, the famous cartoon police detective, actually relied on a two-way wrist radio/tv. We all dreamed of the day when gadgets like picture-phones might give us the opportunity to see the people we called. I was a realistic kid though, and knew that contraptions that would revolutionize my ability to communicate with others just weren’t possible in my lifetime. (Transistors were just making their debut.)

But then, buttons replaced the dial on the telephone and we could call someone in half the time. Next came computers, box sized cell phones, the internet, and the iPhone. My goodness! The new iPhone IS a Dick Tracy two-way radio/tv… with a mini computer and entertainment center thrown in for good measure.

And then, there’s Social Media. As I see it, Social Media is the innoivative art of setting up cans and a series of strings in cyberspace so you can have a meaningful dialogue with others. For your business, Social Media provides a great tool for stretching a string to your prospects. Social Media can thank predecessors like the personal computer and the internet for the scope of its power. Who would’ve imagined how far we would come in so short a time?

In fewer than 50 years we have shot right by a technological reality I could only dream of in 1960. And you know what? I’m grateful.

Even though it’s the wonders of  technology we’re discussing I don’t want that to sound materialistic,  Even though I love and want all the new “toys,” I really am grateful.

As those of us in the United States prepare for a holiday based on gratitude I fully realize that this new world of communication opportunities has made our lives better, and has helped revitalize my marketing agency. Yet, when I look at where these five decades of communications progress has left us… I laugh. I laugh because in today’s world, after all is said and done, what we’re all really doing when we communicate with each other is nothing more than a space age application of a string and two cans.

So, pick up your can, tighten the string, and hear me say, “Happy Holidays.”

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