This week-end, TBTB entered the world of social media. We actually launched a Facebook page, “Transitions by The Book” and also opened a Twitter account. I think that one is “chgthrufaith”, but I haven’t used it yet, although I am told that you can read the daily posts there. And I am the first one to admit that I really don’t know anything about social media. In fact, I am a little intimidated by it all. I have a LinkedIn account, and periodically, people ask me to link to them, but I don’t think I’ve ever made a comment, or even finished my profile for that matter. I just never thought of myself as that much of a tech savvy computer guy.
Furthermore, if I don’t get involved, then I don’t ever have to find out how hopelessly lost I am when it comes to the aspects of social media. There must be people around who can do this stuff for me. And so far, the kids – Kristin, Jill and Andrew – have all helped me to successfully launch our entry into instant communications. Of course, they are more adept than I ever hope to be. It seems that the younger generations are faster to pick up this stuff that those of us who are a little older, but I am committed to learn as much as I can about it all.
Now the reason that we are doing all of this is that we are trying to expand our reach across the country, and eventually, maybe even the world. After all, that’s what the Great Commission tells us, isn’t it? In Matthew 28:19-20, the disciples are told by Christ to “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” And today, the way to do that is through the use of computers and the internet.
But I never thought about this stuff when I started writing in February. The folks who encouraged me to start TBTB just asked me to focus on one thing – content – and that is what I have been doing. In fact, tonight marks my 130th article – and at last count, something over 110,000 words have been written about God, the Scriptures, stories and anecdotes related to topics of interest to those who believe in God. And I really enjoy it.
In the old days, we had different forms of social media. In fact, as a child I was pretty much ahead of the curve. I entered the world of social networking when I was about 11 years old. In fact, I remember the day that I received my own login. It was a pretty special day. I stayed in my room most of the afternoon when I got home from Sutherland Grammar School where I was in the 7th grade. It was 1964. The technician arrived and I remember him going outside, and drilling a hole through the brick, into my room, to run the network cable to the little desk I had next to the door of my room. I even had my own keypad. And then it happened. My first connection to the world with my own login id.
Okay, so it was only a touch tone phone, and it was green, but it was like the world’s best computer to me. I actually had a plan that allowed me 30 outbound calls per month, and inbound calls were unlimited. Only one problem – I was the only kid my age with a phone. Some of my friends’ families had 2 lines, but the parents paid for both of them. Not mine. If I wanted to connect to the world, I had to pay for it. So I did – with my lawn mowing money. And if you haven’t figured it out by now, my number was 238-2426. In the sixties, we still used names; like Beverly, or Hilltop, or Prescott – so depending on where you were, the first 2 digits of the number were the buttons associated with the first 2 letters of the area you were in. So, Beverly was 23, Hilltop was 44 and Prescott was 77. Beverly had 2 exchanges in those days – 3 and 8, so you were either 238 or 233. And use in case you are curious, the area code was 312 – all of Chicagoland used the same area code in the sixties.
Since my parents were 238-2409, Dad wanted me to have a number close to them. Therefore, 238-2426 is the number I got. It was even better than their number because for people with a rotary phone, and most of them were still rotary, my number was easier to dial than theirs – because there were no zeroes or nines, and those were the hardest numbers to dial! While some of you who are older are remembering the old days, those younger readers are probably saying, “Who cares about all this?” But getting a good number was like having a memorable login. It made things easier, just in a different kind of world. So there you have it – the story of my entry in social networking.
So my encouragement tonight is to remind you that no matter how sophisticated the world becomes, and quickly we can communicate online with one another, there is no substitute for live personal conversations. There’s just nothing like it. And my prayer is that you will continue to perfect the art of personal communications and use social media where appropriate, while remembering that there are certain things, such as weddings and baptisms that should never be relegated to the virtual community.
And, by the way, if you happen to be on FB, we certainly want you to know that we would appreciate you “liking” Transitions by The Book. It will help us reach our goal of faster outreach and we are looking into additional ways to bring the word of God to the country. Lord knows we need it. Have a great day; Grace and Peace…..