Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sharing the News Instantly

Let me make this clear up front. This is not an effort of a proud new grandfather to get a picture of his grandson on his blog (well, maybe it is, just a little bit).

Cooper Maddox Stump was born this morning at 1:06 a.m. in Murfreesboro. He weighed in at 8 pounds, 5 ounces, and was 20 inches long. By 2:24, his picture was posted on Facebook by way of my cell phone. By 3:43 a.m., ten pictures were posted of proud big brother, big sister, Mom, Dad, and Grandparents with the newcomer. At 3:45 a.m., I was receiving good wishes from a friend in Thailand. By 11:00 a.m., there were at least a dozen responses. As a friend in east Tennessee wrote, "Now THIS is a great use of Facebook!”

Now think about this. Several years ago, my friend in Thailand probably would not have received this news until our December Christmas letter. Friends in east Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and North Carolina would not have seen these pictures for months. What a testimony to the power of the Internet to communicate even the most ordinary (well, maybe not that ordinary) things of life.

Let’s move this beyond family events to news, ideas, and opinions. Through blogs, Twitter, and so many other online digital services, one person can share information and ideas almost instantly with people around the world. A pastor’s blog is read not just by his congregation but by a seminary teacher in South Africa. A missionary’s work is reported in real time to supporters on the other side of the world. A reporter engages in a dialogue with his readers on a real time basis.

Things have changed, and new tools have been provided to us. We are challenged to use these new instruments for good (including sharing pictures of grandchildren).

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