Thursday, October 13, 2011

How Social Networking Will Reduce Your Hotel and Gas Bills

This is the (draft) script for a YouTube video I hope to create. It introduces a great new idea for a way social networking could streamline society, then packs a surprise punch for both Christians and non-Christians. I worked hard to keep it as short as possible because I know YouTube viewer attention spans are very short.

Your input would be welcome! 


Would you hitchhike occasionally if you knew the person picking you up would always be safe? And if you knew you’d have easy connections all the way to your destination? If there were a way for drivers to know you’re harmless (and for you to know they’re harmless), think of all the gas you’d save, and new people you’d meet!

When you attend that 2 day seminar in Baton Rouge next year, would you still fork out sixty dollars a night for a hotel room if you knew that your friend Terry’s uncle Billy Bob would be tickled to let you stay in his spare bedroom?

Would you buy a brand new book on Amazon if you knew that a person two blocks away had the same book laying on his shelf and would happy to lend and maybe even give it to you? If she knew what you needed, another neighbor would probably be glad to pick up a few extra things for you when she goes to Walmart if you gave her a couple extra bucks for her trouble.

What’s the common element in these scenarios? There are people all around you who could provide things you use for a fraction of the cost. You just don’t know who and where they are. Yet.

Social networking has the power to change that.

For example, Google Books, Amazon, and Shelfari all already have easy systems for listing the books you own. One of them just needs to add a way for you to list your location, and mark which books you’re willing to share.

Facebook already knows you’re attending an event in Baton Rouge, and that your friend Terry’s uncle lives there. All they need to add is a way for Uncle Billy Bob to show he’s willing to share his home with a friend of a friend.

The same principle applies to these other ideas. By providing a way for us to list the books or rides or shopping trips or whatever that we’re willing to share with people our friends trust, social networking can help us all save money and meet new friends.

So why hasn’t this happened yet? The technology is already in place. We just need a few programmers to write the code. They just haven’t thought of the idea yet. Please share this video with your friends. Probably all we need is for a key person at Facebook or Google to get their mind around the idea.

Here’s an even more fundamental question: why is this technology even necessary? Why can’t we trust everyone? Because of sin. If the world were sinless, you could hitch a ride with anyone without fear. If everyone were righteous, you could walk up to any home in Baton Rouge and see if they had a spare room for you to stay in. And they would be happy for you to stay with them. (In fact, if there were no sin to worry about, they wouldn’t even have a lock on their front door!)

You’re a Christian? This kind of sharing is what we should have been doing all along. The church ought to be the best kind of social network. If Jesus really “saves His people from their sins” there is no reason why we should not be able to trust each other enough to share anything and everything we own. “You need a place to spend the night, and you’re a Christian? Come on in, brother.” Of course since anyone can call himself a Christian, the church needs some sort of verification system. That’s why God instituted church membership and church discipline, so that the church could maintain the honor of Jesus’ name by policing itself against imposters. (But why is it that so many churches are so lax in their membership and discipline policies?)

Not a Christian? You ought to be, if you want to see the world free of sin. Any religion can give you a set of rules. You can probably even find a set of rules that you can keep so you can feel better than the other people. Only in Jesus do you find a bar so high that you can’t possibly keep it. (Liars go to hell, lustful thoughts are adultery in the heart, and anger equals murder?) And only in Jesus do you find someone willing to take the punishment from God you deserve, and give you a new heart. Turn from your sins, trust in Jesus alone to save you from them!

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