I’ll admit it. I feel old, and a bit culturally backward. I do use email, after all. If there’s one thing that dates a person or marks our generation in the 21st Century, it’s how we communicate, and email is for old people. Hard copy pen and paper, snail mail personal letters? Those are for dead people.
I’m only in my mid-forties but the Beloit College Mindset List for this year has just been released and the class of 2014 doesn’t use email. It’s no big surprise really. It’s slow, really. I mean you may have to wait minutes or hours or even a day or two for a response to an email. The word “mail” is in the name, after all. What comes in the mail any more besides bills, magazines and catalogs? Even those you can get online if you’d rather.
The Beloit College Mindset List is a wonderful cultural and social creation in itself.
Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall. The creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief, it was originally created as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references, and quickly became a catalog of the rapidly changing worldview of each new generation. The Mindset List website at http://www.beloit.edu/mindset, the Mediasite webcast and its Facebook page receive more than 400,000 hits annually.
My interest in congregational life and in Unitarian Universalism make me think we should gather some of our Unitarian Universalist youth (if they’re still interested in church life) as they head off to college each fall and publish a UU Mindset List at the end of every summer as Unitarian Universalist congregations prepare for Water Communion and Ingathering services. We’d probably find a correlations between the size, dynamism and energy of congregations and how well the class of 2014 could relate to their worship service, e-newsletter, and facebook page (what do you mean your congregation doesn’t have one?). Sounds superficial? Who’s missing from mainline congregations? 18-35 year olds. Do you still contact your congregation through email? Bunch of old people.