Two years ago I was in Portland. I was at our denomination’s biennial conference. It is safe to assume that I was one of two people on twitter. The session on how churches could use the Internet focused almost entirely on a broadcast approach, rather than an interactive approach. (Streaming sermons, having pretty websites, advertising). As a digital person, I felt very alone.
That’s not completely true.
I took many friends with me. There was a wonderful online birthday party for me. But I felt like I was on the edge.
Today feels very different. When I searched twitter for “general conference” and “missionary church”, I found some people who I have already started following…and then met in person. Several of us are talking to each other and people from our local communities in real time using facebook.
There are still some challenges.
At an event like this, where voting will happen, you need to identify a “conference bar”, the voting section. When that area was identified, it excluded almost every area close to outlets. When we voted, there was a loud “no” vote from the corner where the outlets are. Everyone chuckled. No one without a laptop understood.
At an event like this, where reports are offered, the only way to respond is by standing up and asking. Someone just joked about putting a report on facebook. It would, however, be very helpful to gather comments in real time using the technology that many of us, many of the people who could be the future of our organization, are using anyway.
Both of those are illustrated in this facebook comment, (said mostly joking):
“I’m wondering if ____ is FB-bitter seeing that the rammed through vote moments ago put him on the front row–apparently a place where he is uncomfortable being on his laptop–I type this from the 2nd row (I want my old seat back.) ____, is the ability to vote really worth losing your FB privileges?”
However, we have made progress in the last two year. And I am grateful.