Just a note: This is one of those self-reflective, more-to-myself-than-to-you posts.
Come on. Die already – social media conferences, social media blogs, and conversations about social media conferences and blogs. Are you with me? (I actually enjoy conferences, but I’m trying to appeal to the side of you that’s a bit like me sometimes – overly saturated with this stuff.)
I always snicker inside when I’m in the context of a Christian conference or meeting and the question comes up about whether Jesus would use social media today if He were here. I think we need to conclude 1.) He IS alive and 2.) He IS “using” social media, with or without a Twitter account (I’m fairly sure @Jesus is not His official account considering the flippancy of it).
I’m more intrigued to know what the apostle James might say about it all. Yep. The guy who wrote that great book confronting us about stupid ways of living apart from God and bluntly calling us back to faithfulness to our message. I think if James were on a panel about using social media (don’t even go to whether he would be or not), he might say…
Be doers of this thing we call interacting with human beings and not just hearers only… Stop theorizing. Stop arguing about the nuances. Stop debating about whether “social media” is a one-to-one tool, one-to-many tool, one-among-many tool, many-against-one tool, or whatever. Just love people. Spread the gospel… Use Twitter and Facebook. Blog about it. Stand on street corners. Drop leaflets out of hot air balloons. Just get to doing!
I think what churches and church leaders are longing for is less “social speak”, fewer buzz words, and the end of debates about subjects we’re ten years behind the secular world on anyway and more things we can actually do to grow the kingdom.
Here’s the thing. “Media” is any kind of message. It can be a song, a book, a blog post, a famous quote… it can even be the gospel. “Social” simply pertains to human interaction and conversation. So “social media” just means interacting with humans about a message.
The weakness in the church is not a lack of adoption of social media tools so much as it is that we’ve moved away from interacting with humans, in human ways, about the gospel.
Thankfully, there’s this crazy “social media revolution” going on that includes tools and trends like Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging. And this crazy revolution is forcing us to deal with our unsocial natures. It’s forcing us to grapple with why our influence is diminished in modern society. It ultimately forces us to squarely face this bigger issue of why don’t we just share the gospel by all means to communicate with all people so that some might be saved?
Stop arguing about whether Facebook is good or bad or whether Twitter is just for narcissists or not. Stop clamoring for another platform from which to spew buzz words on bored audiences about how we need to be more “organic” or “conversational.” Be doers.
The most important details about social media were written before the existence of Twitter or Facebook in the form of The Cluetrain Manifesto, but most “experts” today won’t have read it, which is why we keep starting the conversation that’s been happening for a decade without us.
You’re annoyed by social media discussions for the same reason I am. Because it causes me to become distracted from… doing! Of course, if I stop talking… if I cut back on buzz words… if I simply do what we’re talking about so much… how will people know I’m cool?