I’m eating breakfast with a friend tomorrow, talking about social media and denominations, especially small denominations. Since I often think better with my fingers (and I certainly think better at night than at 6:30 am), I figured I’d share some of my thoughts.
1. Denominations are people, gathered in groups, gathered into a group. Social media, as opposed to broadcast media or structural media, slice across groups of groups.This can bring new voices and new perspectives. That is both healthy and risky for the denomination. The more people are social, interactive, able to ask questions and offer ideas, the more traditional media are undermined and traditional “here’s what we are doing” communication is made irrelevant.
2. People at the center of a traditional structure will tend to use skeptical eyes to assess new media. People at the edges of a traditional structure will use skeptical eyes to look at old media. Which means that the talking points cannot be about the communication medium but about what everyone actually believes. But invariably, the communication medium will bear the brunt of the argument.
3. Jesus’ primary model of communication was not to use words, it was to be the Word. Embodying the message is the most effective way to convey it.
4. The least effective strategy for using social media (or any other new program, technology, style of tie or brand of coffee) in a group of groups setting is to tell the leaders of each group that they must or that they cannot use whatever that new thing is. To do so ignores the concepts of audience, culture, relationship, gifts, individual differences, learning styles, being one body with many parts, and countless other truths.
5. There are probably other things I should write, because this matters. But I’m about to go sit on the sofa and watch over-the-air TV with my wife. Which probably has an implication for this list.