We had two kinds of communication growing up, telephone and tell-Mom. First off, let me say I was never one to use the later of those networks only because of the direct connection to Dad and how it made it almost impossible to escape the consequences in any timely manner.
Now the telephone was great piece of equipment growing up in the sixties and seventies. Why? Because it also meant freedom. Freedom to roam. Freedom to escape. Freedom to have “Fun, Fun, Fun till your Daddy takes the T-Bird Away.” I’ll call you later man! Oh the good ‘ole days.
And we had all the same excuses for the question, “Why didn’t you call?” I wasn’t near a phone. I couldn’t stop what I was doing. You said never call collect unless it’s an emergency. I didn’t have a quarter — (or if your were from Wapakoneta a nickel).
My how times have changed.
We have literally locked a communication device, equipped with GPS mind you, to our literal hip! Why? I think because it was a cool thing to do at first — and then we just got addicted to it. We need to be in-touch with our surroundings, with our environment, with our loved ones, with our work and with every little infinitesimal item that might displace our position on this third rock from the sun.
I will have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised that my phone warned me to “Take shelter now” when I was recently on the farm of Larry Bonifas in Landeck, Ohio watching as what appeared to be a storm cell and tornado ripping through Ohio City just miles from our location. Yes, it was “that storm” we witnessed and I must say the communication device proved to be quite helpful.
In fact Larry was able to get live weather radar on his hand-held device and zoom in on our location and then follow the storm from street to county road to highway, as it moved northeast past our location wreaking havoc along the way.
But what if Larry was in his tractor, or combine when the storm had hit and he didn’t have this kind of device? I thought of that and all the other farms with bins and silos, livestock and equipment caught in the path of this powerful storm. They say timing is everything and these communication devices certainly have improved our ability, timing wise, to react to these kind of events.
My phone blew up that night. With Twitter, and Facebook, instant messaging and text messages all wondering if we were OK, if I was OK and suddenly I found myself doing the same worried about my loved ones in the path of the storm and making sure I could communicate with them.
We often complain sometimes about the social media network and the use of communication devices. We argue whether maybe they can be or are abused and abusive.
But honestly the technology that comes with our mobile phones and other hand held devices allow us to do more things, more quickly, more efficiently and effectively than ever before.
From my encounters with the farming community, I have always been impressed by the acceptance by farmers of new technology. Not just what comes with new farm equipment or new computers — but the use of communication devices to better do their jobs.
When weather is a controlling factor in your work — I guess a little Twitter there and a little Twitter here is OK.
Here’s seeing you, in Ohio Country!
The writer is an award-winning veteran broadcaster for more than 30 years.