So I’m cleaning out my bookmarks and dumping them on you, one by one, probably on Sundays. If you’re playing along on your own blog, leave a comment with a link to your post in the comment section below. I’ll scoop those up and post them as a “second helping” at the bottom of my post next week so that your post gets another round of eyes.
The 1500’s version of Facebook was called alba amicorum. They were books that people passed around when they were hanging out with other people, and they would jot down thoughts in the pages. Mental Floss writes,
They would draw in each other’s books, share secrets, scribble inside jokes, and gossip about their romantic prospects. As a result of being passed around from friend to friend, these books tend to be a little more cluttered and a little less photogenic than the neatly organized recommendation books men created.
Oh, the men got to fill their books with recommendations from people they met on their travels, sort of like LinkedIn. Women were left to giggle about song lyrics.
On one hand, there’s no delete button when you’re writing in ink, and if you cut a chunk out of your book, everyone would know. But on the other hand, you don’t have to worry about people continuously dredging up old pages of your book if you never bring it out again. You really own it, whereas I don’t feel like I truly own the words I write on Facebook. I just sort of set them there, and they sit there. Like a lump.
I really love this idea. Not the fact that people apparently used it as a measure of popularity, but the idea of women in the 1500’s lounging around, writing witty things in each other’s alba amicorums. Or the idea of spending an afternoon looking back at your book. Or really, just the act of schlepping this leather-bound book with you to a party so people could jot down things on the page.
If you gave me a choice between the offline or online version of social media, I’d take the offline one, hands down. Sure, Facebook is easy, but it also leads to so many hurt feelings or confusion or frustration. Most of the time, people write on their own wall, informing others of things. This is very different from someone writing on your wall and giving you the enjoyment that comes with listening.
Plus it reminds me of things like playing MASH on the school bus when we were little. Do you remember MASH where you learned whether you’d live in a mansion, apartment, shack, or house? And whom you would marry? And how many kids you’d have? And your job?
What about you? Would you rather have an offline or online version of social media?