Facebook: The “Grapevine” on Steroids

I bet you’re wond’rin’ how I knew … A TV Sitcom “made it” when the day after a show, folks in the office were talking about it while gathered around the water cooler. When our youngest was in high school we didn’t subscribe to cable. This meant the only television we watched were the movies we rented. But he never felt left out. He would go to school and hear all about the popular TV shows simply by listening to the conversation in home room.

It took me by surprise I must say, when I found out yesterday …It must have been something when the telegraph made it possible for people to know almost in real time what was going on in far-off places. It was a kind of primitive Twitter, making up in the number of characters you could use what it lacked in availability to the wider public.

You could have told me yourself that you love someone else …I made the mistake my Freshman Year in high school of telling a friend of mine that I was going to break up with a girl I was dating. (Remember, we are talking 48 years ago. Dating in high school was a bit different then – especially when you were a Freshman …) The young woman got wind of it before I could tell her myself. She tracked me down in the hall at school between classes and let me have it like there was no tomorrow. “‘Tis better to be holed up in the Janitor’s slop closet than caught standing at your locker by a jilted girl friend.” (Proverbs 25:24, slightly amended for high school romance.)

If it’s true please tell me, Dear; do you plan to let me go? Nowadays we find out via Facebook that someone is “in a relationship”, or not. We don’t just ask someone to marry us; we script the proposal into a made-for-Youtube movie and hope that it gets 31 million hits. We’ve also taken the “Dear John” letter to new heights.

Dontcha know I heard it through the Gravevine – not much longer would you be mine …Jesus told his disciples: There is nothing hidden that will not be known. The truth is, that’s always been true. And the truth is we want to know; we will find ways to know. Human beings always have and we always will.

Some people think too much information is shared on social media these days. Some people are uncomfortable with it. Some people are like those who come upon a gruesome scene – not wanting to be caught looking, but wanting desperately to catch a glimpse.

Whether information travels because one neighbor calls another, or friends meet in the coffee shop, or we post it in the paper, or we put it out there for all the world to see – word gets around. Back in my younger days we had our ear to the rail. We knew what was comin’ down. We might not have had gigabytes coming at us at the speed of light, but we had our way of finding out. We didn’t have Facebook. But the line was almost as quick, nearly as universal and always well lubricated. We heard it through the grapevine.

Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.