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Letters to the Editor

Progress? Community group feeling the pinch

What has social media done to us?

I have been married to my wife for almost 46 years now. When we were a very young couple, she was approached by an organization of ladies who had the betterment of the local community and development of the individual as a couple of its primary goals. She joined them in 1973.

Through mailings from the parent organization and meetings held in the homes of the various members within the county, she learned how to be a better wife, mother, homemaker, member of the community and individual.

I have watched her progress over the years with pride. She has seen a lot of changes over the years in this fine group of ladies, from state-level down to the local organization. Lifelong friendships have been formed.

Sadly, most of the members she first got to know are now gone. Therein lies the problem. As old members faded from the organization, new members have not been forthcoming, at least as far as a physical presence is concerned.

The young ladies of today have the internet and media such as Facebook they can turn to for their developmental needs. The state organization has all of its information and lessons on their website, thus diminishing the need for the “old order” of business that used to require actual “face time” with the other members of the group.

At their latest annual meeting, there were only a handful of ladies in attendance, of whom my wife was the youngest. The internet’s social media has reinvented how younger gals view their roles in life, be it as a mother, teacher or community leader, and it gives them so many ways to get where they want to be.

I wonder whether the intensity of the socializing on the internet media is equal to the intensity of physically socializing with others. All you need today is a browser or an app, instead of a “dumb” telephone or an invitation to someone’s home. Are the connections today really the same, or are they much less personal, as I believe them to be?

“Friending” or “unfriending” people seems to me to be a rather cold way of socializing. It is funny to me that a word that used to be a noun (friend) is now a verb. To “friend” someone — are they really seen in the same light as somebody you have actually had to learn how to get along with, how to learn from and compromise with?

My wife’s group of ladies realize that for their local organization, the clock is ticking. They do not want to disband, but they know that without new members, they have no hope of survival. Progress has enabled their state-level folks to continue in business, whether or not groups like the local one stay alive.

Progress will be the end of her little group. Progress means change, but what do we lose in the process? I wish I had another 50 years to live to see just what “progress” is going to do to this world we live in.

For the record, I am not on any social media, nor do I care to be.

Mike Johnson

Princeton

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