Actually social media
I attended a little liberal arts college in Wisconsin, where we well-off kids were dipped into a fantasy island of hippie liberalism in the middle of a devastated post-industrial blue-collar town. We had to stick together or intoxicate ourselves out of our minds to keep the consensual reality held together, and generally it worked pretty well.
I’ll assume there are plenty of inside jokes and camaraderie at your alma mater. But I had no idea what a funny little cult that Beloit College comprised until a few weeks ago, when someone created a wonderful variation on one of those horrible “give a rotting carcass to your friends” Facebook applications.
This thing exploded and just about every single status update I’ve seen on my wall for two weeks has consisted of my college friends sending random Beloit memories to each other. I’m sure it is driving non-Beloiters insane, but I can’t stop smiling for all the obscure memories evoked.
The best part to me is that it’s so different from all the plants and sweets and beers and other useless bullshit that people send me on FB, because it really is a memory that you give and receive.
Someone says to you, “yes it’s a cliche that we made a late-night run down the hill to Super Gas to buy smokes” [for under $2 a pack, I might add] “but I remember that time we went and that we used to call it Stop-and-Die.”
Or that “I remember going to dinner at Imperial Palace with you, because it was one of like three restaurants in town so we had no choice, but jesus we had some good times, hunh.”
This application tapped straight into the vein of what can make Facebook great. All of a sudden a bunch of reunited former friends and acquaintances get to gush and reminisce about all the stuff you never would have noticed without decades of perspective.
It reminded me of some really great times in my life, things and details that would have been buried with me, and allowed me to share them with the same people I first experienced them with.
Now that’s social media.