new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

Did it happen if I didn’t tweet about it?

If a tree falls in a forest and no-one tweets about it (or mentions it in their Facebook status) did it make a sound?

I realise that this article may pass by the heads of some readers completely—those who still prefer the ancient systems of pen, ink and postage stamp; who use a phone for actually talking to someone; or that most passé of pastimes—face to face conversation. For you a tweet is what happens in the real world outside your window when a chaffinch chirrups. For you Facebook is a mis-spoken contraction of “Your face is an open book”—a useful metaphor back in the days when people met face to face.

However we now live in a different world—a world of enhanced communications. But is it? Certainly people are communicating more, but are they communicating better? Technology as one writer puts it “wears its benefits on its sleeve—while the drawbacks are buried deep within”.

One of the ironies of all this technology that is meant to aid communication is that it seems to be hindering it. What was Christmas like this year? Did it consist of people sitting in the same room poking at pieces of technology whilst generally ignoring each other? I saw a great cartoon recently of a husband and wife out for a meal. The wife has strapped her husband’s iPhone to her forehead, saying “At least this way I can pretend it’s me you’re looking at”.

One of the outcomes of texting is that people are less inclined to real face-to-face communication. Young people text each other whilst in the same room. I read of a young woman who was talking with a friend on her phone. The conversation became too emotional, so they hung up and texted each other. When asked why, the woman replied that she didn’t want the other person to hear her cry. Maybe our technology is not connecting us as much as we think?

Another outcome of all this increased communication has been the ‘shallowing’ of communication. A shallowing of conversation indicates a shallowing of ourselves. Many feel the need to tweet, or Facebook, every inconsequential detail of their lives—“I’m now eating a donut”!

It seems as if some feel that their lives aren’t validated unless they broadcast it—assuming of course that the rest of us want to know. Are we so convinced that the world revolves around us that we think people are interested in the minutiae of our lives?

People may know more about us, but they know more about less important things. This enhanced communication, ironically, ends up isolating us. When did you last have a real deep conversation with someone—one in which you got to know them better, were able to open up to them, or hear them?

Technology, for all its benefits, has tricked us into thinking we are at the centre of our worlds. We may well be, but it is a lonely centre. Into this environment a 2000-year-old message comes saying that we aren’t as important as we like to think, but that there is a God who is interested in the minutiae of our lives. If only we would stop to listen.