Saturday, March 28, 2009

So Now What?

Yesterday I wrote a lengthy post about how I'm trying to use technology more effectively in youth ministry.

Blah blah blah.

Irony gave me a chilly awakening this morning when I started the car and heard Radio Tradio on the local AM radio station. For those that are unaware, R.T. is like a garage sale that takes place on the radio. People from all over the state of Iowa (and beyond?) call in, wait on hold for a while, and then offer descriptive summaries of the stuff / junk they're trying to sell. The host (supposedly) writes these descriptions down, and encourages the listeners at home to do the same. I could go on, but I'm afraid I'd be snarky, judgmental, and pejorative in my discourse.

Here's the thing. My encounter with R.T. provides me with the perfect entry point to the sequel to yesterday's article.

How enormous is the functional communication / technology gap right now?

I'll pick on myself to illustrate the conundrum...

I'm sitting in a Starbucks, sipping a $2 cup of coffee while syncing my Blackberry Curve to my MacBook and writing on a blog. Twhirl, Gmail chat, and Facebook are all open just in case anyone wants to connect. Skype and iChat are also at the ready for video chat. (And creating hyperlinks like nobody's business!)

Suffice it to say, I feel like I've done a decent job of keeping up with the frenetic pace of change in suburban culture.

And yet I live in a world where people hock their old crap on a 50,000 watt radio station that covers a radius of 250+ miles. I just wanted to scream "have you not heard of Ebay...or Craig's List...or, for that matter, the flippin' INTERNET!?!?!" The R.T. peeps probably have never even heard of any of the linked items in the previous paragraph...and they don't even care. Their life is probably not made better if they hopped on the technological revolution that's happening around the corner in their local high school.

And yet, even as I admonish these people for their obsolescence, most of whom are significantly older than me, I realize that it's just as likely that the kids I work with might think the same awful things about me.

Let's face it. I'm almost 30, with three kids, a mortgage, and a minivan. I don't know how to make Bluetooth work, or even what it is. The van is 10 years old, and thus has no cool hybrid / GPS sorts of gadgets. I don't use Digg, Technorati, or Delicious. I just upgraded from a clunky flip-phone and 200 text messages a few months ago. (Several kids from church plow through 4,000+ texts a month). I can't figure out how to send email messages from said phone, no matter how hard I try. We don't even have cable / dish television at home.

So what's the point of this disjointed rant?

Perhaps there is none...other than to say that we're in a tricky spot right now as a culture. How do we live, share, learn, grow, challenge, and love in a world that is navigated in so many different ways? What can the Radio Tradio crowd contribute to the iPhone demographic...and vice verse? And (perhaps a more important question) - how do we bring those people together and facilitate that kind of communication when they don't even speak the same language?


I need another cup of coffee...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the chuckle Erik! I know what you mean! I try my best to keep up, but it's hard to not know/understand/sometimes care about the "latest and greatest" technological advance! I can't wait to share this with my husband who does a lot of speaking on "generational differences" in the church! He'll enjoy reading it, too!

    Blessings, Beth Lewis, President & CEO, Augsburg Fortress


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