Thursday, July 09, 2009

Distinguishing personal and professional use of Facebook: is it all the same? What are the implications for religious communities?

My resistance to personally using Facebook and Twitter remains resolute. A recent conversation with my brother confirmed my intuition when he said, "it's a big time suck." My lack of participation in the technology itself does not mean I am not paying attention to its affect on communication. I do not proclaim it's potential for usefulness, especially in the Church.

The New York Times recently ran a story about the big three world religions and social networking sites as did The Christian Century on a more limited scope. I intimately know that the Church by enlarge is coming to social networking sites more out of desperation for survival than out of place of building community, though it's quite possible that congregations may learn something in the process if they are willing to give this form of community building a try. As I continue pondering my return to the working outside the home world and moving into full-time ministry I wonder about using social networking sites in order to solidify some of the messages for ministry? With a semi-anonymous blog I know that a few people take a passing interest in what I write. If I am more intentional about presenting opportunities for Christian community through a congregation I serve, would I be foolish to maintain a resistance to Twitter and Facebook? On a personal level, I have no desire for "reunions" or collecting "friends," or fitting in to a particular group. I am also open to making new friendships, but I'm not going to dredge Facebook to do this on a personal level. The professional/vocational scope makes sense, however, and understanding Christian public leadership in light of these technologies will be important. I am glad the Christian Century took on this topic, and I hope this isn't the only time. I am curious about the commentary, especially to gawk at the Luddites.

Or maybe I'm a neo-Luddite being gawked at...

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