Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My have the Times Changed!

Back in 1964, Bob Dylan wrote a prophetic song called “The Times They are A Chang’n”. He was right. The counter culture and the Vietnam war changed America forever. Nothing would ever be the same after the 1960s.

The other day, I was thinking about this in the context of how much the media has changed since the time when I was growing up in the 1960s. I was on Facebook, and it occurred to me that I could communicate to anyone on the face of the earth. I could upload my photos and videos and share them with the known universe. That’s enormous power that everyone of us now possess. That was unthinkable in 1975 when I graduated from high school. Hopefully, this won’t make me sound like a dinosaur. But we had no cable television, internet, VCR or DVD player. All we had were four or five television stations. Seems rather primitive.

My have the times changed. Today we live in a world of mass communication on a level hardly imaginable. Media images are everywhere streaming at us on multiple levels. I have so many channels on DirectTV, I don’t even know what I have. Even the other day, President Obama actually used the words that we live in a media culture. So what does all of this mean to you and me?

First, how has social networking and the internet changed our lives? Sure, we may be more connected. But is it possible that the internet is having the opposite effect? Could we be more disconnected on a personal and emotional level? We can be anybody we want to be behind the safety of our keyboard without fear of real human contact.

Second, now that we are capable of creating our own media and sharing it with the whole world, thanks to UTube. What are we saying to each other, and what is our message? Do we have anything meaningful to share with the world?

Third, how is living in a media culture impacting you and me? It’s something to think about. It has to have some type of impact, doesn’t it? Have you really given it any thought?

Fourth, what is the message being communicated from all of this media we are consuming today? Makes you wonder what you believe and why you believe it.

And finally, what should my response be to today’s media culture? Should I accept it or reject it? Do I have a responsibility to think for myself and not be told what to think? If you are going think for ourselves, that means we are going to take responsibility for what we see and hear. All I am asking is for you to think about it.

When I think about media, we have made giant steps from the early days of television starting in 1950 through 1980. From 1980 to today, our advancement has been as if we have jumped over the Grand Canyon. Can you imagine what the next 30 years will bring? It will be as if we have leaped from the earth to Mars. Some may consider this to be a good thing while others may not. But what we have to do is spend some time trying to understand what it all means, especially for those of us of Faith.

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