Thursday, August 1, 2013

ancient history (in the days before internet and cell phones)

As I'm writing the flashbacks for Green Castles, it's really striking me how different my whole adolescent experience would have been if everyone had had internet and cell phones back then. There have been so many times while writing that I've thought, Wow, if she had a cell phone, that scene would have gone an entirely different direction. If we'd been able to text each other we wouldn't have been passing notes all the time. Or, whoa, if they could have just harassed that boy on the intrawebz, there would have been no need for prank calls. Kids don't even prank call each other anymore, do they? They just stalk them on Facebook. Sigh.

My first exposure to anything remotely like kind of technology was when I attended the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities from 1990-1992. They had a VAX system which included email, an instant messaging feature called "phone" and a very primitive social networking interface called "Meet Market." I am not even kidding you about the name. It was a huge database of Ball State (and Academy) students and you could put in your hair color, eye color, height, majors, minors, hobbies, etc. and then search by those fields. I met many a cute male Ball State student that way. (Shhh. Don't tell. We weren't supposed to fraternize with them.) I know how big of an impact those resources had on my junior and senior years of high school and then on into college, so I can only imagine how they would have affected my earlier days at South Putnam.

We are all aware how much technology has changed our everyday lives, but to think about how it would have changed specific situations can kind of blow your mind. Also, this is a good time to point out as I'll be finishing up my fourth decade and starting my fifth in 2014 that having these kinds of reflections makes me feel really old! I remember my parents talking about how things were when they were kids and now here I am telling my boys the same sorts of things. Yikes!

What invention or advance in technology do you think would have had the greatest impact on your teenage years?

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