Dr. Pam Thompson

Dr. Pam Thompson

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I Just Don't Get It. Is Your Laptop Your Date?

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not a fan of ever-advancing, new and improved technology and the myriad of interruptions it brings into our lives in the name of making things quicker and better. I know most of you will think I am from another galaxy when I tell you that I do not even send or receive text messages. I decided long ago that I could not withstand one more technological intrusion and keep my sanity and focus. After e-mail, instant messages, snail-mail, cell phone messages, and land-line messages, I know when I have quite enough on my plate that requires a response from me, and I know when and how to draw the line. I continue to be amazed at how consuming text messages and twittering have become for those who think of it as the primary way to reach out to others by broadcasting a steady stream of thoughts while sitting in a meeting, having a meal, working on the job, or even while socializing on a date. Thought broadcasting, by the way, is a phrase used in psychology to describe a psychotic process. For whatever it's worth, I just thought I'd mention that. Anyway, I digressed?My amazement continues to grow with the explosion of social media as I find myself having been talked into the "necessity" of having My Space (when it was popular), Facebook, and Linkedin pages in addition to the social media outlets created by my college, high school and yes even my dear old elementary school. ENOUGH!

We are more connected than ever before in the history of mankind and yet people appear lonelier than ever, growing further away from understanding what intimate relationship is all about. Young men and women no longer dance with each other; everyone does group dancing it seems (mostly women, that is). Couples don?t linger at the sound of each other's voices; they text instead. The landline that used to let parents monitor who was calling their children is obsolete, and parents have no idea with whom their children are in touch. People go to Starbuck's to have a date with their laptops, too engrossed in their screens to make room for good conversation and laughs shared over a soothing, hot beverage. Oh yes, social media has allowed one to get connected again with the close friend of 20 years ago from second grade while one may not have ever entertained a face-to-face conversation or outing with the person next door or the church sister or brother who routinely shares the same pew. WHAT THE HECK IS HAPPENING? Can we really best serve the purpose for which God created us, that is, to love Him and love others, by forgoing the opportunity to spend time with each other IN PERSON where emotions don't need to be electronically recorded in order to be expressed. 

Let me encourage each of you to put your technology in check and limit or eliminate the pressure it brings to spend mindless time connecting with people of yesteryear in favor of doing the work and making the connections with people God has in store for you today. The Book of Ecclesiastes teaches that there is a "time to embrace and a time to refrain" (Ecclesiastes 3:5, NIV). Therefore, bear in mind that some people are only meant to be embraced for a season. It's impossible to stay in touch, even however surface, with everybody ever befriended in life. So folks, have your technology and use it to put you in touch with real human beings with whom you can build meaningful relationships-- for which this site and others like meetup.com were designed--but by all means don't let your technology HAVE YOU. Face to face, voice to voice communication is timeless and will build the memories you?ll cherish when your life is said and done. Consider it.

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