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July 2008 RVC Column

(Written and posted 6/7/08)

Northwest Passages

RVC Column for July Newsletters in Region 8
by John Recht, Region 8 RVC

My sixteen year old daughter, Marissa, doesn't do email. It's just not on her radar. She spends a tremendous amount of time on the computer and on her cell phone, watches a lot of television, goes frequently to movies, and she now has a Wii, but for her email is slow, boring, and unnecessary.

For me email is absolutely necessary, and I spend hours each day on it. At this moment I am composing my column as an email. Why do I bring this up? Simply because as an observer of the evolution of consciousness, and one who pays attention to generational differences, I see the decline of email in favor of instant messaging and text messaging as an important change, one that we need to account for and to deal with if we are to communicate effectively with one another.

Mensans tend to have a great desire to communicate with one another, and so changes that affect our modes of communication are especially pertinent. American Mensa's National Office is acutely aware of generational differences within our organization, and together with the AMC Communications Committee there are constant efforts at the national level to enable us all to converse with one another as well as to hear messages of interest about the organization.

Particularly at the Annual Gatherings there are opportunities for Mensans of every generation to get together. It is heartwarming to see this happen and to know that in the process, people of different generations are sharing their ideas and values with one another. I am encouraged by indications that this is happening more and more at Regional Gatherings as well.

So although the shift in generational thinking is profound, and the totally new environments of the electronic age continue to change the perceptions of young people just as Marshall McLuhan predicted in Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man more than 40 years ago, there is every reason to expect that we can still communicate effectively if we make a concerted effort. More to the point, the future of Mensa depends upon it. I look forward to hearing from you on this or any other topic that you feel the AMC should attend to; please email me at rvc8@us.mensa.org or better still, talk to me at the AG. Hope to see you there!