Image courtesy of Florian Seroussi at

Image courtesy of Florian Seroussi at

Does LOL mean that you’re happy? Maybe when accompanied by a winky face. All caps means more than (lol) so I guess that gives us a clue to the tone. How about the body language of the chuckle? Sarcasm? Ummm, can’t really tell. And perchance you’re just trying to massage or persuade me? Ugh, now I’m confused.

Without aural clues, communicating by text and the like can be extremely superficial, lacking in depth or perspective. Ok, and your point is?

The digital natives are growing up in a different world of connectedness, all of which is not bad or misplaced. I think of being able to communicate with a  tweet or in text as another excellent way to convey a thought or influence.

While it’s true that I may be missing tone and inflection in this medium, do I really need all of that to let someone know that I’m running 10 minutes late? A simple “good grief… running late!” would suffice, I don’t really need to chat on the tele for 5 more minutes just to add the feeling of sorrow, right? Hats off to etymology, Shakespeare and the #hashtag…

Being different or communicating in a different way doesn’t always mean abominable. Consider the arrival of the telephone. Don’t remember the advent of the string and 2 cans? LOL… not likely, since it was in the late 1800’s! Interestingly, Alexander Graham Bell’s first successful spoken words to his assistant Thomas Watson over the early telephone, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you!” Soon enough there was wire strung on poles connecting people everywhere… and with those famous words the average teenager responded to their parents by not answering their cell phone and learned the art of mastering ambiguity, preferring the form of exchange now commonly known as text.

I think when we become self-absorbed or resistant to change we LOSE connectedness.

Marcia Eckerd, Ph.D., states “I think learning about how others feel, social connectedness, and moral responsibility are related.”

Indeed, consider the cyber bullying issue. I applaud the laws targeting this as a criminal act. Here in Florida, that’s mainly directed at juveniles in schools. And what about adults? Surely they wouldn’t partake in such an immature act, right? Well, have you ever seen a parody profile on Twitter? Someone took the liberty of creating one for me, and a MySpace site too (btw, I’ve never done MySpace). I’m sure it was just some juveniles. I guess it comes with the territory and the notoriety of having a presence, making a positive difference and trying to change the world. Heck, even the pastor at our church has pundits!

Leslie Postal of the Orlando Sentinel says, “Actions that could get students in trouble include creating webpages in which they pretend to be someone else, posting bullying messages on sites or sending them to others via phones or computers.”

Yep, the things we can learn about connectedness from the digital natives…

My thought is this: being responsibly present in the moment, in whatever that entails, could prove to have the greatest positive impact. Simple, direct and personal interaction will always be better than any fancy ecard or digital message. Call texting the medium of misunderstanding if you will, but I believe it has a place and purpose, and short transactional bits are here to stay. Something else to be thankful for. I expect we will continue to learn from younger generations as well as nurture them from our experiences. That’s disciples making disciples, across the board.

Do you ever feel “left behind” when culture changes, or when the next generation views the world differently?

What have you learned from the younger set recently in your daily walk?