“People today are going to stay connected forever,” says Jeff Jarvis. Jarvis, journalism professor and author of What Would Google Do? made that observation in a talk to Google employees recently.
Jarvis’s point is that Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Plaxo, FriendFeed, Twitter, Flickr, and a host of other social networking platforms enable people to reconnect with old friends and stay connected forever. As an example, he talks about reconnecting with his old high school girlfriend — with his wife’s knowledge, of course. Apparently Jarvis did not break up with her well when he was 17, and reconnecting gave him a way to mend that relationship, and re-establish it on a new basis.
Think of the implications of connected forever for communities of faith — churches, small groups, ministries, mission projects, and so on. Personal networks that transcend both time and location provide rich opportunities to engage with old friends, make new ones (I don’t know half the people who are my friends on FaceBook), and connect in meaningful ways.
Churches could extend their reach and ministry throughout member networks around the globe. Projects that need help, resources, people, equipment, and expertise could tap members and their friends worldwide. Shaun King has a request right now on his blog for help with a high-tech gospel presentation to college students. We’ll see more and more of that as churches and organizations connect with members’ networks.
Do you know any churches that are tapping into wider networks now? How are they doing it and what results do they see? Watch this trend because it will become very important in the future.