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Use technology correctly to make friends (unless they’re Commies)

I realize that the word “friends” is overused when talking about social media, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be friendly. When mastering a new social media platform, it’s important to not only understand how the platform operates, but also the conventions that are associated with the platform.

It’s especially important to remember that communicating via a social media platform is NOT like communicating to someone standing next to you. I don’t care what social media platform you’re using – if the person is distant from you, then the person isn’t getting all of the communication that you’re providing.

That’s why, when using these newfangled social media techniques, it’s important to do things such as placing the receiver close to your mouth. Oh, and don’t slam the receiver down when you are done.

What, did you think I was talking about Pinterest?

Contact Sheet has shared a digital copy of a booklet entitled “How to make friends by Telephone.” Yes, the Bell System even used the word “friend” that Pinterest and Facebook and Google and just about everyone else is using.

When reviewing the book, Richard Darrell observed:

[I]t seems no matter how advanced we make things, the format for making friends will always leapfrog into whatever we create.

The same thing happened back in the 1940s. When the phone first became a household item, people started to question if we would even need to get out of the house anymore (just like we did when the television and the Internet became household names). However, history has shown us that we still need that physical interaction. We want to keep all our friends and still go out for a coffee or a movie every once in a while.

And of course the Bell System wanted to help. Certainly they had self interest in mind, since they wanted to encourage people to use telephones – especially for long distance calls. (Well, as long as you don’t call those Commie places like Russia.)

But the tips were certainly helpful, and despite the vast changes in the technology landscape, some of the tips are still helpful today. For example:

Shouting distorts your voice and is not pleasant.

And the existence of the book reminds us that social networking didn’t start with Twitter. Steven Hodson goes as far to refer to the telephone as “the original social network.”

Although frankly I’d hand that title to the old U.S. Post Office.

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