Social- real, virtual or both?

In a recent meeting of our church leadership, the power of social media to make meaningful connections between people we know and those we don’t was brought up.  Someone commented that “Our church’s new picture directory is … Facebook!”.  Furthermore, this has happened quite organically, and without any set plan.  We are now exploring how to make a biblical impact with social media, and this has reminded me of my own experience.  Quite frankly, I am conflicted.  At times, I have spent several hours on FB or Twitter.  Yet I have no overall personal or company strategy (unlike many in my field) because social media looks like an addiction waiting to happen– it seems so easy to get lost in!  Therefore, an experiment:

  • For the next hour, I will attempt to spend less than a minute reading something (anything) on the wall of every friend I’ve got
  • For some, there might be a brief comment– for others, not
  • I’ll leave a link back to this post for as many as possible

If you’re reading this, and you got here through the link, it’s your turn:

  1. Has your experience with social media been generally positive or negative?
  2. What is, in your opinion, is the most helpful or encouraging thing about it?
  3. Is it all a waste of time?  If so, why?  (… and why are you even reading this… *winks*)
  4. Are you concerned about security?  (FB and others)

————- [one hour later] ————–

So, I made it.  Barely got through the “E”s in the list of my friends.  It would have taken another 2-3 hours to do them all.  Some thoughts:

  • Facebook is a big place, with lots going on, and games I never heard of, and links to some funny videos
  • Some people have their Wall turned off.  Perhaps, actually, they filter who can see their wall (and I couldn’t).  That’s an interesting idea…
  • Some people who have friended me leave me speechless.  That is, not that they are wrong, bad, whatever, but that what they are interested in and what I am interested in have almost no intersecting points.  IOW, I have nothing to say…
  • Learned some things I didn’t know.
  • Does what I learned make me feel closer to the people I learned it about?  Not really.

Now to answer my own questions: #1- positive, so far.  #2- the news and bits of information you pick up (see last paragraph).  #3- no.  #4- Yes, but I’m still not sure what to do about it.  I think I need to read a security & identity theft analysis of social media by an IT security expert (which I’m not).

Finally, tragically, I think I stumbled across the death of an acquaintance’s daughter in the last 24 hours, apparently in a car wreck (or something similar).  This friend doesn’t announce anything, but only refers sadly, I think, to a website he and his wife set up for this little girl earlier this spring.  In this case, FB is terribly lacking.  I did leave a comment, but it feels hollow.  I can relate well to this kind of thing, because our only son doesn’t have a FB page– only this.

Thanks for taking part!  Comments are welcome.

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