According to the poll I put out last week (thank you everyone who voted, by the way!), I’ll be writing a 6-week series of posts exploring Christians’ wise use of social media and mobile technologies. This is a complicated topic, and one that’s piqued my attention since last fall, when I had some rousing conversations about this topic in a seminary course. I’m hoping to draw some from those discussions, as well as my own experience and wrestlings with the increasing connectivity literally at my fingertips, and what that means for my apprenticeship to Jesus.
Some questions I hope to address include:
- How should technology — like PowerPoint, texting/tweeting, digital bulletins for download, etc. — be used in worship?
- Is it appropriate or helpful for churches, or pastors, to spend time working on a blog?
- What is Pinterest for? How might we use it for Christian discipleship?
- Are smartphones, and people who use them, the worst?
- Should all Christians be Luddites, refusing to use any new forms of media or technology?
- Should all Christians only participate in specifically Christian media?
These are big, hairy questions. I do not hope to address all of these questions, but I do hope to address at least a few of them fairly fully. And, if you have any questions that you or your church is wrestling with right now, please leave them in a comment, and I’ll do my best to address them with my opinions. And that’s just what this series will be: my opinions. I will probably post ideas or arguments here that will cut against some of what others — what you! — think about using social media or mobile technology. To be clear, I will write what I think, and what I have discovered through my experiences of these things. I ask that you also say what you think; this should be a conversation. Leave comments here, on Facebook, on Twitter. This betrays some of what I will conclude: as Christians, I don’t think we can simply refuse to be present on these sites; it is how are are to be present on these sites that I am always more concerned with.
So, to preface the series. When I say “social media,” I understand that I am talking about an expansive and expanding category. In fact, I would argue that in the last few years this defines almost all of the internet. Every page I open these days asks me to “log in,” usually through either a Facebook or Google+ account, so that I can participate in a somehow more meaningful way on all of these sites. In reality, it’s so the internet powers-that-be can keep track of what I am accessing and viewing, in order to advertise to me more effectively, and so I can retrace my steps or share things more conveniently. “Social media” is all of our media; this is our context, which is why it is so important for us Christians to consider how we represent Christ in everything we do.
In the exact same way, “mobile devices” describes (nearly) all our devices. Tablets, e-readers, laptops, smartphones, these are all designed to go where we go: if we go without them, we are not whole according to their design. What I find even more interesting, is that all of these devices are also touchscreens. We want to not only carry our technology with us, but we want to relate with it, we want to touch it, to look at it and have it look back. Once again, this is deeply significant for us as Christians to reflect on.
Once again, please comment and join the conversation throughout this series. Join in. As always, thanks for reading.