Social media as most people know it today did not begin with the internet or facebook. Social media has been around for centuries but it was much different from today’s social media. Come take a trip through the time capsule of the history of social media.
In small towns and cities the men would work in the stores through out the town, while their wives would, either stay at home to clean, or assist their husbands in the shops. The men would communicate and talk with other when they needed to get something at another shop, or would gather at the local pub for lunch, or just grab a beer to talk about life, business, or other general topics that was the happenings of the day. The wives would stroll along the boardwalks with umbrella’s, past the different gift shops and other fancy shops for women. As they stroll pass other women walking beside them or when they come into their view, they would stop, talk chit chat, and then continue their stroll. People would also communicate and discuss their lives while inside the stores shopping, or just browsing. In the early 1800’s they just had oil lamps, and wood burning stoves so they wouldn’t be out socializing after dark.
Communication outside your city to another town or across country was done by writing a letter that cost a penny and was sent by either horseback or wagon, and took days if not weeks to deliver.
By the mid to late 1800’s, with the traveling road shows, plays, and musical going from town to town, the social life became more of a large gathering of the townsfolk’s on the weekends. This was the time they were able to enjoy the fruits of their labor during the week, and were becoming more prosperous as they gathered together to talk about things that were happening in their lives.
The telegraph was in full swing, so talking to someone in another city or long distance was just a matter of going to your local telegraph office and sending off a telegraph that would be received within minutes, not days. People began to learn about life outside their community which prompted them to begin exploring other cities and moving to areas based on what they learned and liked.
With the invention of electric light bulbs, telephones, and early cinema, people began going out during the night time for socializing at public gatherings. Before the light bulbs, no one came out in the dark, but now it was not a problem. They began to form social clubs where the men would get together, talk about men things, see a cinema pictures at the theatre, or just drink at the pub. The women form bridge clubs, sewing clubs, afternoon tea, and evening socials. They were able to get to know the community residents a lot better and learned from each other.
With the invention of the car, popularity of telephones, and speakeasy, socializing was no longer just regulated in the city. They could phone friends and family across the country and talk in real time. Now visiting a neighbor in another city was to just get in the car and drive over there. This allowed to socialize with a wider group of people outside their normal scope of reality. It began to increase their knowledge and ideas around the country.
The forties were the dawning of drive-in movies, live plays and musicals that travelled from town to town. People were able to talk to other like minded people on what they have in common. That started the formation of social groups based on your personal likes and dislikes. I think this was the real beginning of people grouping together that they have things in common with.
The 50’s brought the high speed cars, the interstate system, and people began to travel more freely and began moving to areas that they had in common with other people. The teenagers began to enjoy more freedom though the night and on the weekends, and as I believe was the first generational divide in the country. Parents were set in their ways, but the young generation didn’t like being confined in one area and since it was the age of television, they learned new and different ways to communicate and what they liked.
Then the 70’s and 80’s was a great upheaval that made everyone realize that they were no longer just a small community in the home town, or not even a single country within the world. With the increase of global communication, a new thing called pagers, and the portable telephone coming to age, they can talk and meet with people on the go, and yes even around the world.
The one thing that all of these social media avenues had in common was that people had to initiate to socializing outside of their homes. They had to go out and meet people one on one, or face to face.
Now we have the internet, facebook, twitter, snap chat, and instagram, and now every body is just minutes away from knowing what you are currently up to. They no longer have to go out side to meet someone face to face. They can just sit in front of a computer which even that is becoming obsolete. Now they can keep in touch with everybody else, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, non stop. The world has just became their stepping stone.
So even though people think of social media being, media, networking, facebook, twitter, and all being instantaneous, socializing was around back when your great, great, great grandparents were young.
If you would like a more detailed view about what life was during these periods, you can read about it at the following page: Quora: Civil culture in the 19th and 20th centuries at the following address