Saturday, May 09, 2009

Social Media breakfast and a future post

(Edited for clarity 5/9/2009, 10:30 pm, LEK)
In a few minutes I will start the Swedish (German to my father), pancakes I cook each week for Holy Trinity's weekly community breakfast and meeting. I am working on a post on the "media arts" in worship, but this is some emerging ideas and I want to presents something more or less coherent, and I am critiquing various approaches and I want to be fair to what I critique so it may not be posted for awhile.
In its place some more thoughts on Social media before I start the pancakes:

This is further reflection on Tripp's recent post on "social media" ie. Twitter and Facebook(FB), and the conversation that it generated on Tripp's blog and over at Eugene Cho's blog. Also, Steve Hays has an interesting post on the use of Social media by the church

At the moment I am going to rant a little about how the term "social" is being used. Tripp asked if FB and Twitter more social than blogging. Speaking this way of both in Tripp's question and in calling Twitter and FB "social media" is using "social" as the differing marker. Doing so seems to narrow greatly the meaning of social. This narrowing seems to restrict "social" to being sociable. I would agree that Twitter and FB are more sociable media. In a sense they create an unending virtual social, as in a church social or social hour. However, "social" can simply denote being about society and ones community in a generalized sort of way. I would argue social is about being apart of creating and maintaining the larger social fabric. Which is what the media is for in terms of larger and extended groups of people. Now granted that the "traditional" media of newspapers, TV and Radio (and even blogs) all are limited in terms of interactivity and ability to be sociable. In fact these media aren't really about being sociable at all. They are about spreading news, information and/or an environment conducive to knowledgeable or at least informed communities. One may say they are also about exposing a large group of people to things that may not have become informed about and thus expands there sense of their community and understanding of the society in which they live. Granted we all know the limits of these media. And Twitter and FB don't have these same limits. I am sure Twitter and FB have their limits, one being sustained and in depth discourse. They are by nature and perhaps design surface level communications, like most things called "socials". Now I happen to think that Twitter and FB serve a wonderful function, they allow for a highly mobile and disjointed culture to recreate or maintain networks and community over time and space which is difficult when we may have friends scattered all over the country or even the world. Twitter and FB don't create community we the users create community via these sociable tools. They are sociable technology allowing us to create a permanent and virtual social hour. This has its good points it also like with all technological advances has its negative sides. But all media are social, and Twitter and FB do not create community but they allow us to be more sociable (not necessarily a good thing) and through this allow us to create community in ways impossible before.