The Effect of Social Media and the Internet in Branson, MO
There are many things I enjoy about this new modern world that we find ourselves in. There are also a great many things I dislike. In this article though, I will confine myself to the positive.
Monday, I walked into Mel's Hard Luck Diner in Branson for a late lunch. I had no plans of meeting anyone there. I just enjoy the food and had some business to take care of at Kringles in the Grand Village.
Once I was in Mel's, I saw multiple tables full of people I knew. I saw BTG Club Members, their friends, families and others. It was fun to visit everyone, laugh, joke and take a few pictures. A mutual love of Branson seems to draw the best people together.
One of Mel's "Singing Servers" (Chism), came over and took my order. After telling him what I wanted, I sat and listened as the singers spread their own brand of musical goodness around the restaurant.
I always have a good time at Mel's.
Mel is a friend I do some work for, so it's a win-win for me. As I sat there enjoying my Southwest Chicken Wrap (pictured below) and Dr. Pepper - IT HIT ME! No not the heat of the chipotle dipping sauce, which is actually pretty mild for someone who enjoys spicy food.
The thought that struck me was that everyone I had just visited, hugged and chatted with, were people I had met online in one way or another.
The ease and power of social media that the internet provides is one of the things I like most about life in this century. "How old was John Wayne when he died?" "How do I fix a stuck car window?" - the internet has the answer!
People often say that being connected to so many devices stops us from talking to each other; that social media actually makes us less social. While there is some truth in that, I think there is also another side to that coin.
After all, I had just experienced 100% goodness on a personal level as a result of my time online and it felt good.
I have real friendships because of it. While some friendships are deeper and stronger than others, the connections are still real and meaningful.
It feels good to meet the person in "real life" to whom you've been talking to online. You may have wished them a happy birthday, prayed for their dying aunt or congratulated them on a job promotion.
Yes we've all seen (or been) the man and woman sitting in a restaurant together, heads down, looking at separate phones instead of talking nonstop to each other.
"How was your day?" "Good." "How was your day?" "Good... blah blah blah" just to fill the air with something.
However today, that same couple can just as easily "check in" with each other throughout the day, exchanging kind words etc. This is something that only a generation ago was pretty difficult.
Do you remember how big of a deal it was for you to call your significant other at work in 1985? Many times people had to go through secretaries, bosses and such. Now a call or text is a button push away.
It's easy to say, "I love you and was just thinking of you" or "Pick up beer on your way home."
My point in all of this? It's the same point that I try to make over and over. There are always multiple ways of looking at things. It's easy to fall into the doom and gloom of "people just don't talk to each other anymore!"
I had the opposite experience on Monday and just wanted to shed a little light on it. Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment with your own thoughts on this.