Tag: myspace

Social Media or Social Suicide?

Recently I cancelled my Linked-In and Plaxo accounts.  I had previously cancelled my Twitter account, but now have one under @PeaceFriendsCom to promote my blog, PeaceFriends.Com.  I mostly look at my own family’s Facebook posting and photos, and spend almost no time posting to Facebook, except for my blog posts which go up automatically.  In short, I’m pretty unsociable about social media.

Here are some of the pitfalls of social media, as I see them, especially for pastors:

1.  You think you’re anonymous.  “Public anonymity” sounds like a oxymoron.   You know, like airline food, military intelligence, hot ice, and so on.  But Twitter, Facebook, et al, while appearing to really connect us with others, don’t.  What social media do is to create an exchange “as through a glass darkly” to quote the Apostle Paul.  There is a sense that one can post comments or quotes that would not be said or shown in a face-to-face encounter.  Hence, public anonymity.  How else can you explain today’s “boy-behaving-badly,” Rep. Anthony Weiner.  Either he has a political deathwish, or he thought somehow he was anonymous.  The Emperor’s New Clothes comes to mind here for some reason.

2.  Nuance is lost in social media.  The raised eyebrow, the tone of voice, the wry smile, the sense of humor are all lost in social media.  Emoticons, I’m sorry, are not good substitutes for human facial expressions, even if they do help clarify (“is he mad, or just joking”) the writer’s intent.  I won’t even get into correct spelling, grammar, syntax, and all the other skills of proper writing that are lost, but nuance is a big one for me.

3.  It’s easy to be stupid.  While we might choose our words more carefully in a real-life encounter, social media is a linguistic drive-by shooting — quick, blunt, and irrevocable.  Of course, you can delete your tweet, but that won’t prevent someone else from capturing a screenshot and putting it on Twitter again.  Rep. Anthony Weiner, again, is a good example.

Of course, being stupid isn’t limited to explicit images or inappropriate comments.  Pastors and church leaders need to consider carefully their social media interaction, whether on blog posts, Twitter, Facebook, or any of the other social media platforms.  The now ubiquitous stories of employers checking out an applicant’s Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter accounts before hiring make my point about caution.  Do not think that your social media account is your private business.  If you’re out there, someone in your church or community will be reading and watching.

All of this doesn’t mean that pastors are limited to tweeting Bible verses or Christian platitudes.  But, a good rule of thumb is “if you wouldn’t show it to your ___________ (deacons, elders, spouse, senior pastor, mother, etc) don’t Tweet it.”

“Please re-Tweet this article, hit the Like button, post it to your Facebook accounts, and help me get this out there in the blogosphere,” he said ironically. 😉

Networking news you can use

Most of you who follow this blog do it by feed reader.  If you get me on a feed reader, you may not know about some of the new tools I’m using.   I’m finding them useful:

  1. TwitterEd Stetzer evangelized me to Twitter at NOC2008.  Twitter is micro-blogging with a max of 140 characters per post.  That’s characters, not words.  Short and sweet.  Or silly.  Or stupid.  But, short.  But, you ask, how can I “follow” all those “tweets?” The answer is, You can’t.  But, you can search terms from “chuck warnock to “small church” to “happy pastors.” Subscribe to the feed for those and other terms, then anytime someone tweets those phrases you get it.  Helps you sort out the noise from the helpful info.  Plus, the people who follow you are doing the same thing.  Anyway, check it out.  Oh, and follow me here.
  2. Brightkit.  This is a brand-new app that lets you schedule your Twitter posts (I have a real hard time typing ‘tweets’).  Just opened this past weekend, and you can get in on it free!  I just discovered Brightkit, and it will make Twittering much more useful.
  3. Ping.fm.  Ping.fm allows you to post to your Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Plaxo, blog, and other social networking sites from one entry.  Amazing, but true.  Saves lots of time.
  4. Facebook.  Okay, this is not new, but I am just now getting the hang of this.  If you’re not on Facebook, you need to be.  It’s fun and useful.  My wife, Debbie, started a Facebook group called Goodthoughts to do good deeds each day — 49 people signed up the first day!  I had some real problems with the fake ‘friend’ thing at first, but the jargon is what it is.  I order a grande soy latte wherever I go now, and I learned it from Starbucks.  I’m learning ‘friend’ on Facebook doesn’t mean best-buds, but on-line connection.  So, ‘friend’ me here at my Facebook page.
  5. Blackberry.  Okay, I already mentioned this, but I had no idea!  The internet (sort of) in your pocket.  Mobile is coming on strong.  Nokia just premiered their new N97, touting it as a mobile internet device.  Asia is light-years ahead of the US, and mobile everything is there now.  Get ready and get into it now because mobile is how all this social networking stuff will be done — on the fly, not at a desk or with a lappy.
  6. Mobilesitegalore.com provides a template-based mobile site design service for free!  They’ll even provide the domain name, and host it for you.  I’ll announce the mobile version of this blog for the New Year, so watch for it coming to a mobile device near you.

Does all this take a lot of time.  Yes and no.  I consider it networking time, not wasted time, but it does take some time.  You may not want to take on all the social networking tools, but experiment with at least one of them.  I’m convinced that this is the wave of the future, even for church networks.

If you’re using social networking, tell us how you’re doing it, and what benefit you get.  I’m putting together an article on how social networking can be used with small churches and I’d like to hear from you.  Thanks.

Tribes and church

A friend of mine sent me Seth Godin’s new book, Tribes.  All Godin’s books pack lots of new thinking between their small covers.  I’ll post more about it after I’m finished, but already I’ve run across these gems:

  • “A  tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.” -p 1.
  • “Heretics are the new leaders. The ones who challenge the status quo, who get out in front of their tribes, who create movements.” -p 11.
  • “Leaders have followers. Managers have employees. Managers make widgets. Leaders make change.” – p 14. 
  • “‘Established in 1906’ used to be important. Now, apparently, it’s a liability.” -p 17.
  • “People yearn for change, they relish being part of a movement.” -p 18.
  • “Great leaders create movements by empowering the tribe to communicate.  They establish the foundation for people to make connections, as opposed to commanding people to follow them.” -p 23. 

Okay, more later, but you get the picture.  Tribes is about leaders, followers, connection and movements.  Sounds like the first century when the church was young.  Maybe it can happen again — a real movement, a genuine groundswell of people gathered around Jesus, connecting with each other, passionate about doing God’s work in God’s world.  Anybody up for a movement?