twittervangelism, skeptics, and why i just blew up

digital_keyhole

“Skogerboe just blew up on Facebook…”  Or something like that.  My name apparently came up in a conversation about social media between Jeremy Erickson and a friend of his.

Jeremy called tonight from a mountain side in Colorado.  He’s there to teach at the FLY (Free Lutheran Youth) Convention (here) in Estes Park this week.  His topic:  Facebook.  Naturally, we dove into it.

I’ve been basically AWOL from Facebook and all social media for about the last year.  Maybe longer.  I’ve had an account with Facebook, but only paid attention to it about every 3-4 weeks.  Now suddenly, I’m updating my status multiple times a day.  What gives?  Why the sudden fervor for social media?  Why the twittervangelistic passion?

In a nutshell, I’m convinced the world has changed.

Imagine this story being told to my great grandchildren (if Jesus doesn’t get here first)…  “I can still remember the day I first heard about this newfangled interwebs.  Northwestern College.  Thought it was some computer doo-haw for Christian radio stations…” (insert self-depricating chuckle, shake of the head, and raising of bushy white eyebrows here)  Or this one… “Boy-howdy, I can remember the days when I declared with a righteous indignation that I would NEVER carry a cell phone.  No SIR!  Ridiculous.  Who needs a walking-around phone when the world is already full of perfectly good land lines?!”

The world has changed.  And while I’m certainly not an early-adopter when it comes to technological trends, I also want to understand and harness cultural shifts that are driving society.  I just came to the realization that social media is a big deal.  It is a part of the fabric of daily life now.  We can bemoan the loss of actual relationships or try to speak intelligently about the dangers of this new reality, but we cannot stick our heads in the sand.  Twitter, Facebook, and Whatever’s-Coming-Tomorrow.com have changed the way the world works.

[ As I write this, my cousin pops up in a Facebook chat box, BTW.  From THAILAND – on a mission trip.  How cool is that?! ]

To my good friends who are social-media skeptics – many who are conservative by nature, ministry minded, and a bit wary of “the next new thing” our culture embraces – let me just say, “I HEAR YOU.”  Social media tools like Twitter and Facebook have a dark side.  I plan to post about some of those concerns soon.  But for now, I want to bang out an explanation from my sudden zero-to-sixty explosion of technologic involvement.

(1) TWITTER.  I love it.  (here)  No one asking me what muppet I am.  No one sending me flair.  Just 140 characters from people I choose to follow.  Punchy.  To the point.  It has become a great resource – a kind of “table of contents” for the part of the blogosphere I want to keep informed about.  By following a mix of ministry leaders, drummers, creatives, pastors, worship leaders, tech ministries, executive pastors, and a handful of good friends, I have a network of like-minded people feeding each other resources and ideas.  Holy Hannah!  This is genius.

(2) The flexibility and ubiquitousness of FACEBOOK.  (here)  While I like Twitter’s brevity, I can see the value in Facebook’s longer-form text input, video and photo posting options, and real-time comments and chatting ability.  There is sometimes a need for more than 140 characters, after all.  But please, don’t send me anything for my little green patch.  PLEASE.

(3) SEESMIC DESKTOP (here).  Or if I had an iPhone, I might go with TWEETDECK (here).  This takes social media tools to a whole new level by allowing you to view multiple Twitter streams, group people in lists, and see Facebook updates all in one place.  For example, I tweet from @jskogerboe -and- I manage our church’s twitter feed @LH_Church.  I can see what’s happening in both streams and view real-time Facebook updates all at once.  It’s free and it will change your life.

Seesmic Desktop

Seesmic Desktop

Tweetdeck_screenshot

Tweetdeck

(4) This BLOG (here… but then, you’re reading this already, aren’t you?)  It seems there are some things inside me that want to get out.  Still experimenting.  Baby steps.  But so far, me like.  I can see how Twitter and Facebook can be used to connect a network of people, and then harnessed to point people to resources like this.  Hopefully, some of my thoughts and ideas will resonate and influence people for the better.  Time will tell.

In any case, I’ve entered this new technological landscape with a certain degree of recklessness and freedom – now that I can see and believe in it.  (Sounds like a metaphor for FAITH, doesn’t it?)  I will need discipline.  I will need to find that tension of the middle ground (see my last post here).  And in time, I really think this social media machine (Twitter, FaceBook, Seesmic, Blog) will bear fruit.

Any thoughts?  Words of warning?  Encouragement?     Bueller?

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“twittervangelism, skeptics, and why i just blew up” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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~ by jskogerboe on July 8, 2009.

2 Responses to “twittervangelism, skeptics, and why i just blew up”

  1. Sure, I agree that there is value to the Twitter/Facebook arena, but it seems to me, at least at first, that it’s a lot of work to maintain and really not connect with a lot of people. In some ways, I miss just picking up the phone.

    • I agree with you in a lot of ways. It can definitely rob you of time actually talking to people – by phone or face to face – if you let it. How (and when) you choose to use the tools that are available will largely determine whether they are valuable addition or a distraction to real life and real relationships. I have been fairly careful in choosing to follow people and ministries with Twitter, for example, that consistently offer resources, ideas, and links that help me grow. And it has actually led to some new real live relationships (like the staff of Journey Church in Cincinnati, OH) and strengthened others (ala @churchrd and @PastorSteve2). In the end, I think some people are wired internally to love this stuff – others find it burdensome. And how you use it is up to you. I just wanted to explain why I was nowhere on the social media cycle, and now I’m all over it. Thanks for your thoughts!

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