The conversation went something like this:
"Did you hear about Jimmy Smith?"
"Oh, my Lord, yes. He has been in trouble his whole life."
"And can you believe that his sister is actually defending him?"
"Not surprising...she's piece of work."
"Well, I'm going to be keeping an eye on this one - everyone is talking about it."
Through the use of social media, families can stay in contact with loved ones, watch the news and see what's happening around town. Even local papers have created an Internet presence in the smallest of towns in the hopes of maintaining cultural relevance they once held. Gone are the days of the local diner being the focal point of town gossip, trends and interactivity. Rather, even these diners and coffee shops have wireless Internet and the person-to-person conversations are typically relegated to the exchange of money at the cash register for a beverage.
Recently, a horrific fire ravaged much of an area of White Salmon and it was the use of technology - the Internet largely - that kept surrounding residents abreast of what was taking place. It was an excellent example of the positive aspects of both social media and the use of smart technology to keep people aware and safe. Ultimately, it saved lives.
It's exciting to see the changes in attitudes toward the use of social media, technology and how rural communities stay in touch. At a recent Goldendale High School football game, the opposing team had set up a webcam, was broadcasting the football game via the Internet and providing play-by-play commentary. While the negative side can be a downturn of real human interaction, residents of rural communities who perhaps were unable to attend could participate in their own way - from the comfort of their homes as they rest from a long day at work.
Change can be a good thing and the growth of technology and the increased use of social media to communicate will serve to grow communities, to enhance the quality of life for many in rural America and as a consultant to the same, this development of technology has been an enormous blessing. I've had the opportunity to help others use social media to their advantage, to increase name recognition and give some insight as to who they are. Businesses, candidates for elected office as well as folks like you and me can use technology to our advantage to share ideas, thoughts, promote business and communicate effectively and quickly.
We live in a great country. That's all there is to it.