My daughter Lauren has made several popular blog appearances before here on {grow} including one of the top posts of 2010: “Snooping on Facebook: Not just for stalkers any more.”

So when she said wanted to contribute one of her own blog posts on the origins of social media I jumped at the chance. Little did I realize that while away at college she has acquired quite a “potty mouth” …

For months I have heard lectures, read blogs, and attended seminars about the transformational impact of social media. But something seemed so familiar … as if I’ve witnessed this type of social community before.

And then I realized.

While the term “social media” might have been coined with the rise of Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, these sites are mere copies of the original collaborative social networking — the bathroom stall.

Instead of getting our minds clogged with all this new media crap, let’s plumb the depths of this idea, shall we?

Since the invention of the stall, urination stations have been popular among angst-ridden teenagers, vengeful girlfriends, and drunk guys for excreting news. While they might not realize their remarks are more than a mild case of crapper vandalism, they are actually contributing to a forum comparable to the modern social media we know today:

Wall Posts: Well … they are literally posting on walls, aren’t they?  Examples might include a poem, current events commentary, or remarks towards the community such as “Happy Birthday Brittany!” or “Brittany is a bitch.”

Tags: See Wall Posts. For example “Brittany” is tagged in this wall post and will hereby be referred to as Brittany.

Comments: When conversation is started on a Wall Post, members of the community frequently add their own comments.

A recent comment stream:

Happy Birthday Brittany!

1 day closer to death

luv u 4 eva Britt

It’s my birthday 2!!!

Product reviews: The idea for public reviews did not start with Yelp.  “For a good time, call Stacy.”  ‘Nuff said.

News Feed: Sharing news … like this:

So the next time someone gets on their high horse about how social media is flushing away traditional media, just remember — this is really just a variation on a very old theme.

And don’t forget — knife storms today.

Lauren Schaefer is a senior studying PR and marketing at Indiana University.  She is seeking employment opportunities in marketing and event planning ; )  Follow her on Twitter @leschaef

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