Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Signs? Trends? Change? Me?

image At the beginning of the school year I asked my confirmation class (7th and 8th Grade) for their eMail address so we could keep in touch.

"I don't use eMail."  Said one of the students, and they all quickly agreed. 

"Then how do you communicate?" Their out-of-cool pastor asked.

"We text." they said in unison holding up their phones... (I actually caught them text-ing each other in class just a few weeks ago, they can do it without looking).

It was a defining moment.  What should I do?  I've been using eMail since it was invented.  I've actually communicated using 300 baud, long before Al Gore invented the Internet.  I blog.  I PodCast.  I Google.  I have Facebook friends.  I've edited WikiPedia Articles.  (and now I even Twitter)  I had always considered myself somewhere at least near to the 'bleeding edge' even though I knew I had slipped a bit in the last few years.  It was painfully clear that something had zoomed past me while I was happily engaged in eMail.

I had a solution, a work around.  Before the next class period I composed a short eMail and sent it to them through the Internet to their phones.  No relpy.  In class I asked.

"Hey, I sent you a text message.  Why didn't you reply?" 

"Pastor, if your going to text you have to use your phone.  Texting with eMail is just lame."

I had been quickly demoted from 'out-of-cool' to lame. 

So I took the plunge.  I entered all the numbers in my phone, spent the $.10 each and sent them all a text message from my phone. (Time to upgrade to an unlimited text message plan).

"Hey, I sent you a text message.  And you didn't reply.  You know that's just lame."  I quipped at the next class.  It worked.  At least a bit.  We swap a few messages a week about class.

So when I read this article about the number of Facebook users over 35 increasing rapidly, I had to smile.  http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=102973 (HT: @RyanMarkel) Especially this paragraph. 

"It also notes the particular trend of moms going on Facebook. "I can't tell you how many friends of mine have complained about their mothers registering in the past couple weeks," wrote AllFacebook's Nick O'Neill. He acknowledges that "younger individuals" may not find that so cool.

It is a peculiar trend that is almost running backwards.  Online, and technology used to be a "safe" place for kids away from their parents.  Things change.   Even my son (he's 22) was reluctant to confirm my "friends" request on Facebook.  None of the confirmation class has done that yet.  I keep trying.  The struggle is worth it.  I'm not trying to be cool, relevant, or even hip.  I'm their pastor I have a call to be in their face.... book. 

Speed up your PC

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