We all grew up with popular proverbs that were directed at us by family, friends and mentors when they believed these were required to correct, coach, or cheer us depending on the occasion. Well, that was then and this is now. It’s not that the message has changed as much as it has been adapted to a new medium—the Internet and all of its affiliated social media channels.
The classic maxim that was born in the era of broadcast TV, “the medium is the message,” is taking on even more meaningful interpretations in the era of the interactive Internet. But that is a philosophical discussion for another time. In this tongue-in-cheek article, I would like to focus on how some ageless pearls of wisdom might be better adapted to modern times and still be relevant to millennials, meme aficionados, and social media enthusiasts.
- Lao Tzu, the great Chinese philosopher said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
In today’s Internet era, it would probably make more sense to say, “A journey of a thousand pages begins with a single click.”
- Henry David Thoreau, the distinguished American author perceived, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
Millennials today would probably be more comfortable with, “It’s not what you click on that matters, it’s what you find.”
- Socrates, the renowned Greek founder of western philosophy counseled, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
For today’s “if-it’s-on-the-Internet” generation, it seems more like, “The only true wisdom is in knowing that the Internet knows everything.”
- Mahatma Gandhi, the legendary Indian leader preached, “My life is my message.”
Online Gandhian disciples of today would be more likely to hear, “My Facebook timeline is my message.”
- An old English proverb posits, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
In today’s social media savvy universe, it would probably be wiser to postulate, “A tweet is mightier than a gun.”
- Another old English proverb cautions, “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
In today’s “digital-never-dies age,” it would probably safer to recommend, “People who live in Google’s domain do not have a right to be forgotten.”
- At the start of the 20th century, newspapers started reflecting the axiom, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
At the start of the 21st century, the YouTube generation is proving, “A video is worth a thousand pictures.”
- This mantra has been repeated by parents and teachers alike, “Actions speak louder than words.”
In an era dominated by social media discourse, the PTA crowd would probably tweak it to say, “Comments speak louder than likes.”
- How many times have you been warned in your lifetime, “Look before you leap.”
In today’s meme and sharing culture, the dictum would probably caution you to, “Think before you click, send or tweet.”
- Finally, in the good old days, we were often consoled, “Every cloud has a silver lining.”
In today’s “everything-is-in-the-cloud” world, we are increasingly hearing, “Every cloud has a hacker mining.”
If these do not make your Top 10 list of adapted adages for the new millennium, please feel free to share ones that you think I missed.