Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Greetings from Cyberspace

Hello everyone, I write to you from the puzzling arena of cyberspace. Its not that I am too old for this stuff, I have after all owned every generation of computer from a "286" to this i5 machine, its just that I promised my children that Facebook would be their domain, not mine.  What has caused this "about face" ?

I do believe that for the first time since the advent of the printing press , the WAY that people communicate with each other is changing fundamentally.

There are obvious exceptions, but it seems to me that the instinctive way people communicate is broadly as follows:

I am in my 50s.

People 15 years or so older than me phone me

People of my age email me

People 15 years younger than me text me

People 20 years younger than me use Facebook.

The young people in my youth group say "have you not got an App?"

What really startled me was when Louise (our community worker) recently bought a new phone - she chose a package with very small text and speech allowances, but a LARGE data package - because though for many, texting is too new, for Louise it is too old fashioned.

How can we communicate when we all use different methods?

6 years ago I was blessed to spend part of my sabbatical in Jerusalem, sharing the Orthodox Easter with Christians from all over the world. One of my Episcopalian colleagues (I am a United Reformed Church minister) from the borders of America and Canada told me an astonishing story. (You have to remember that this was pre financial collapse days). His diocese had been left some money, and rather than spend it on the usual boring things, they decided to commission a future thinking IT firm to tell them what the future would look like. To their surprise, the guy turned up with a senior executive from Wal-Mart (USA) and a load of IT kit. It was the first presentation of "smart" glasses. You put them on, looked at someone and instantly the facial recognition system kicked in with the persons name ( a godsend for me) - "Hi......  great to see you, tell me, how is ..... your son and little........" - the drop down menu on your specs fills in the info.

My friend was astounded, he had seen nothing like it. "When will this be available?" he asked - 5 years was the reply. Silence. "And how much?" asked a timed voice. 5 dollars was the answer.

This is my attempt to communicate with those outside of my email generation. It would be good to know that we can still talk though.............

Reverend Alan Poolton

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