PAINTER: The changing face of our world

Mar 21, 2012


Yes, we have come a long way since I began my newspaper career by banging out stories on a manual typewriter, taking photos with a cumbersome camera and developing film in a makeshift darkroom – the bathroom.

Facebook, Twitter and the other social media outlets have had a tremendous impact on most of us.

Even newspapers are taking advantage of the technological changes. A great example was the Grand Haven Tribune’s coverage of the tragic accident involving five Grand Haven High School girls on March 16, and the Grand Haven girls basketball team’s march to a state championship that same weekend.

The Tribune news staff alertly posted messages on Facebook and updates on its website. The Tribune’s newspaper had complete coverage of the events, but readers were informed about what has happening soon after the events occurred.

I have to admit that I’ve become a Facebook junkie and find myself checking my page on a daily basis. I also love going on the Tribune’s website to check out the comments from our readers.

The staff kept readers updated on the accident throughout the day and throughout the weekend. The sports department posted photos and a story on the Buccaneers’ remarkable tournament run. All readers had to do to keep up with local events was to click on their computers.

The world is changing at a rapid pace. Many of us carry Smartphones and use laptop computers to keep pace with what’s going on in the world. Facebook and the other social media outlets have also allowed me to reconnect with family members and friends.

As our family moved around quite a bit early in my newspaper career, I lost touch with many of my high school and college friends, and even some family members. With Facebook, I can now communicate with my friends; as well as with family members still living in Pennsylvania, where I grew up until my family moved to Michigan.

I love checking out to see how everyone is doing. I don’t do a lot of posting, but I do comment on other people’s posts.

What I also like is that most people are positive on Facebook. If someone posts that they are having a bad day, friends will usually send an encouraging message.

A huge technological addition for our family is Skype, a service that allows you to talk to anyone throughout the world. This has been an important tool for us since our son, Lee, is currently living in Bogota, Columbia. We can keep in touch with him on a daily basis.

It also amazes me how so many businesses and governments have their own websites, making it so much easier to find information.

I recently had to apply for Medicare. All I had to do was to go to the Social Security Administration’s website and download the necessary forms. Presto — within a few minutes, I had all the information I needed.

In January, I wrote a story on how Loutit District Library and Spring Lake District Library have had an upsurge in the checkout of e-books because of the proliferation of e-readers.

Many vehicles are now being equipped with hand-free telephone capabilities, which enable motorists to talk on their cell phones without having to hold the phone to your ear.

Years ago, I couldn’t imagine such drastic changes in our lifestyles. In my opinion, technology has made life more convenient.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds.




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