Posted by: Blue Heavens | 27 July, 2007

From the old Autograph Books to the Social Networking Sites

Had a meet up with a few primary school classmates about 2 weeks ago. It was a nice decade after we’ve graduated from Class 6A, Ai Tong School. Incidentally, all the people who turned up were from NUS. Talked about how our lives have been and speculated about how the other ex-classmates are living their lives. 😛

Well the main point of this post is to talk about the change in technology which has disrupted our lifestyles so much. As a student for this past decade, I’ve experienced the start of the internet boom, the usage of ICQ, MIRC, Yahoo and its Messenger and Chat, Geocities and other hot stuff then that I might have forgot. And throughout this period, I had to tolerate the usage of the Apple Macintosh that I was using… However, the main talking point in school is not about computers, not about the internet, but about popular offline “toys” like Magic cards, DragonBall cards, Ping Pong in Dodgeball style, sparring erasers, spinning pen tips, playing soccer (for guys), zeropoint (for girls), custom style D&D games, and of course, the craze about autograph books as a memoir of your friends in the school…

The basis of comparison is with me and my brother, who is a decade younger than me. So on this decade anniversary of us graduating from the primary school,  we whipped out the autograph books to remind ourselves of the fun and cheesy things that we wrote back then (kinda like a time capsule), and to find out who else have we left at the back of our minds. But well, my brother doesn’t have an autograph book and doesn’t care about the effort to keep in contact with his classmates cause they can simply use Friendster (Myspace not as popular).  In this case, the purpose of using Friendster would then be different. For people around my generation or older, the main attraction then was the ability to discover social networks and connections in the circles around us, and the chance to search and connect long lost friends to keep up to date with them. For that, I applaud the power of these social networking sites, because if the world were to remain stagnant and technology levels were to remain the same, I will definitely have lost contact with my ex-classmates, given that their addresses might change, their email addresses (if they had one then) might change, and most importantly their phone numbers would have changed (no one then had the luxury of getting a mobile phone and even pagers were rare for students our age).

Fyi, we reconnected through a mixture of MSN contacts, Friendster accounts and Facebook (which the whole gathering started off). Imagine the difficulty in reconnecting in a small country like Singapore as compared to larger countries like US and China. For this, I’m thankful to technology, to Internet, to email and of course to the respective founders of the social networking sites (tho it’s getting too much now).

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