There’s an only slightly-overstated joke around campus that e-mail is for the older generation. As a general rule students now use text messages and twitter and Facebook to communicate.
There are hazards, of course, as the “Curse you, Autocorrect” meme shows, though more significant are the communication limits of 140 characters, or the inherent space limits of Facebook comments (routinely ignored by an old friend of mine, yes, I’m looking at you, Jeff!). Pithy comments and tweets can be powerful, but rarely persuasive or substantive unless there is a lot of shared context between sender and receiver.
It was an odd pleasure today to get two significant phone calls. A young lady called the university to ask a question about a passage in the Bible, and her call was transferred to me. She was wondering about Isaiah 61.1-3, though interestingly she wasn’t asking about any references to Jesus, just what the verses themselves are meant to say. She told me she’s 15 years old, and that she and her older sister had been talking together about the passage trying to work it out. That’s exciting to me. Hopefully after talking about how these verses she and her sister will keep reading and learning and being shaped by God’s Word.
I also got a call from a friend who, like me, only has a couple more weeks before teaching starts again for the next school year. He just wanted to catch up and talk, comments back and forth on Facebook being entirely inadequate for really connecting. It was one of those conversations that seamlessly flows along, both parties realizing there are other responsibilities that need attention but that idea has to be developed just a bit more and related to this other important issue, and so on. It was meat to eat that comes too infrequently.
My twitter account is largely dormant and my e-mail box is mostly business related, but the telephone sometimes is a welcome change. I think I’ll write a letter to my parents.