Communication has changed. It’s hard to grasp the significance of the changes. Did anything essential change when the telegraph and telephone first came into use? Neil Postman thought so, complaining that the telegraph gave us new information, but that it also laced that information with irrelevance. It seems obvious that new information that comes from the other side of the world need not be irrelevant, and that, in fact, any piece of information can pack a punch to change our lives. But still, to share info over a facebook connection is not quite the same as having a cup of coffee and “chewing the fat,” as they say.
My kids think it’s amusing and strange that I “have” a Facebook, that I’m out “friending” people (not a bad verb, really), and that I now talk regularly about various Facebook connections and happenings. It’s like I have suddenly walked into their respective school, out of place in a world where I so obviously don’t belong. In the warp-speed world of technology, disorientation is pretty much the order of the day. But I’ve determined I’m not going to be the old fogey who refuses to deal with the newest thing, convinced that the old ways were better just because they were old.
So what about the Facebook experience? It’s too soon to tell, really, but it’s been fun to connect with a few people I haven’t heard from in years. For example, an actor friend from the ACU days named Damon Brown is in August producing a simply wonderful children’s series called The Biscuit Brothers. Go check it out. Then there are the folks at Baylor who are doing great work with their program–Stan Denman, Steven Pounders (a great actor), Thomas and Sherry Ward–it’s just fun to follow what they’re up to. Former students, writers from Act One and the Milton Center, people of faith spread all over the country, good, good friends that previous technology just didn’t allow us to connect nearly this often. The connections themselves aren’t deep necessarily, and it seems appropriate that they’re not–Facebook is a place of surface connection, a world of practicality and fun, perhaps mostly for setting the table for deeper relationships when the opportunities arise. Like I said, I’m enjoying it, but I’ll take coffee and a solid hour of talk anyday.
If you don’t have Facebook…check it out.