It was reported on one major news network that chatter about unusual activity in Abbottabad, Pakistan, began via Twitter long before the White House made the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed. A tweet went out from someone in the neighborhood about helicopters at the compound.
Texting, tweeting, smartphones and handheld computers are changing the way we gather information about the world in which we live. In the past, living in a small mountain town like Westwood would make it more difficult to stay up to date with current events. That is no longer true. Whether in the rural mountains or downtown New York, you can stay connected.
Think back over the news in the last few weeks. I was not invited to the royal wedding of William and Kate, yet I was there. Unlike most guests, I saw the ceremony in detail.
Although I had never been in the neighborhoods the tornadoes destroyed as they tore through the South and Midwest, I viewed photos of the homes and quiet streets before the storm and watched, through the aid of technology, the image peel back like the top of a sardine can leaving piles of boards and tumbled cars. This technique for revealing the before and after scenes provided a greater understanding of the extent of the destruction. The winds were so strong people can’t go back to the site of their homes to search for mementoes because most likely they were caught up and carried elsewhere.
In the most recent Robin Hood movie starring Russell Crowe, I was struck by the fact the royal family did not know the fate of King Richard until they were handed his crown well after his death. The message was delivered by knights returning from war abroad. Was it days/weeks before they received the news? Now we receive a message in the amount of time it takes to tweet, which can be as quickly as events are unfolding.
How many people are prompted to pack a suitcase and volunteer during times of disaster or at least send money because they are connected, through the aid of technology, to those who were impacted? Children in the church I attend found a way to encourage the Japanese children because they were able to see and hear personal stories from Japan following the earthquake and tsunami.
How many times is our point of view about an event changed because we are able to be an eyewitness? I recorded the royal wedding, not really wanting to get up at 4 a.m. to watch. I was surprised by the God-honoring ceremony that took place and was glad I didn’t dismiss it as some pompous ceremony not worthy of my time.
Whether we are camping, driving to the airport, waiting to be called in to see the dentist or sitting in our living room at home, we can be connected.
The applications that are being created for smartphones and handheld computers can be quite useful and helpful as well. I was talking with the marketing director at a hospital in Portland, Ore., about an app called iTriage that allows people to assess their illness or injury in order to determine if they should head for the emergency room, an urgent care center, make a doctor’s appointment or self-treat. If urgent care is required, directions are given to the nearest site for medical assistance. Think you are having a heart attack or stroke? Check the iTriage app.
Information at your fingertips can be very beneficial.