Back in the Day… Communication was Different

When I was a kid, communication was different from what it is now. Today we have cell phones, texting, and email. We have blogs, vlogs, and video conferencing. There’s also an array of social media with everything from Facebook and Twitter to web chats.

Back in the day, there were generally three modes of communication. These included sending letters, talking on the telephone, or seeing people face to face.

If we didn’t have someone’s address or know their phone number, we had to track them down and communicate in person. We looked at people’s faces when we talked to them. We knew what color eyes they had and their quirky facial expressions. Today, billions of earthlings simultaneously communicate as their eyes glaze over in a zombie like trance while staring into a small screen.

Sometimes we actually sat down with a pen and put our thoughts on paper. Almost all of us had stationery that reflected our personalities. Some of us had flowery little cards with birds and gardens and lines to write on over the vegetables and petunias. There was more masculine stationery in rusty orange, brown, and black.

But the most popular mode of communication was the old-fashioned telephone. I grew up with an old-style rotary phone. Many people under the age of forty have never experienced this phenomenon. There is a special bond, a camaraderie among us who had to stick our finger in a hole and spin the dial when calling our friends. When the push button phone came along we were giddy with joy because it was a lot easier to call people who had nines and zeros in their number.

To young people living in the twenty-first century those were the days of smoke signals and cave paintings. The snail mail system probably seems like the days of carrier pigeons to kids today. Actually, carrier pigeons would have gotten there faster than the mail truck often did. But there was something so mysterious, even romantic, about sending letters and cards.

If there are any young people reading this, they may be thinking, “Sure glad we didn’t live back in the day. We now have instant communication. We can talk to pretty much anyone, anywhere, anytime.”

That may be true, but we weren’t tracked and monitored 24/7. We didn’t have spam and robocalls to annoy us all day long. We actually had and cared about this ancient thing called privacy.

In some ways, it’s harder to get hold of someone on the phone today than it was when I was a kid. We looked in the phone book for a telephone number and almost everyone was listed in the book. When the phone rang in their home, they didn’t know who was calling, so they usually answered. Today, everyone can see who’s calling, and unless they recognize the number or are expecting a call, with all the robocalls and spam, they often don’t answer.

With all the technology and advanced communication we have today, it’s actually harder to get hold of people and really connect to each other on an individual level. Communication was just one more thing that in many ways was better, back in the day.


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