As we started counting down the days (and hours) before Johnny Mac Pippin arrived, I started thinking about how different the world is now than it was when I gave birth. No smartphones. No internet. When I gave birth to my second child, in the Philippines, we didn't even have a telephone. When I gave birth to my third child, I had a phone but there were no long distance plans available. To share the good news with my family, we had to find a phone booth and call collect -- from overseas. That meant we talked to very few people and we had very short calls. Family and friends had to wait for the postal service to deliver photos and that took a good bit of time. The world is definitely a better place because of the internet, isn't it?
Leah's Foot by VeeSees via Flickr
Besides the ability to communicate faster, it's a really cool experience to be able to communicate with huge groups of people all over the world. Friends I made online 15 years ago, colleagues I've worked with online, family members who I rarely had a chance to interact with before the internet -- everyone was able to follow along as we counted down to JMP's arrival.
I really enjoyed sharing our excitement and joy this way and I know my immediate family and my closest friends appreciated it. What I didn't think a lot about were the other people in my social networking sphere. I knew they would enjoy seeing a few photos and updates. But I didn't expect so many people to contact me privately (or publicly) to tell me how much they enjoyed following along. So many people told me later that they just kept refreshing various streams, looking for updates. People I barely know, really, took the time to tell me this.
How cool is that?
It was super interesting to me, online community geek that I am, to see which streams certain people seemed to follow and which streams they didn't follow as closely. There are groups of people who are exclusively (or almost exclusively) Facebook people. There are groups of people who are exclusively (or almost exclusively) Twitter people. Some folks found me fastest in Instagram (and that was a real surprise.) Some people only follow my blog(s) and those folks were a little behind because sometimes my email connection failed, so blog by email to posterous (which then updates a zillion of my blogs and social media presences) failed. That was frustrating for me -- and for them. So, I stopped trusting my email connection and used Instagram a lot because Instagram will also send to my posterous account and/or my Twitter and Facebook accounts. But, when Instagram failed, I'd resort to Facebook because Facebook was the most reliable -- it just never failed for me.
Something I didn't expect was that text messages were slow and social networking tools weren't -- oops, sorry Tarrant. Some folks actually saw the first photo within social media before my first text to Tarrant went through and I sent the texts before I updated social media!
Before JMP arrived, I was looking for cool sharing tools to try and I stumbled across an app called Postagram. Postagram is an iPhone app that allows you to send copies of images that are on your phone via regular mail. There's not much new about that and I wasn't sure what the quality of the images would be but I decided to give it a try.
Right before JMP was born, I paid $18.80 for 100 credits -- enough for 21 Postagrams and I sent TW a Postagram of a photo I took at the Pali Lookout. It cost 5 credits to send and it arrived two days after I sent it (which is amazing since I sent it on Saturday night!) TW loved it.
Postagram doesn't send a normal postcard. Their postcards are normal postcard size but laminated. You can punch out the 3x3 photo, along with the personalized message, to carry around with you. How cool is that?
After Johnny Mac Pippin arrived, I sent a few more Postagrams and they all arrived very quickly -- and everyone loved them. Postagram is one of my new favorite apps.
The world isn't so much a smaller place than it was 25 years ago, it is faster, smarter, and a whole lot more fun. I wonder how Johnny Mac Pippin will communicate 25 years from now. I wonder whether he'll have virtual friends to follow him on his journeys -- I sure hope so.
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