14
May
09

Value: Social Networking

I was thinking of doing a seminar at church to teach people the value of Facebook and Twitter and how to use them. I’m not sure too many people would come, because I think anyone who wants to know already knows. I have found that a lot of people don’t realize you can update one with the other and do it with your mobile phone. Just investigate your “settings”, you’ll figure it out eventually.  That saves TONS of time.

I think social networking has tremendous value. It allows you to connect very quickly, if not instantaneously, with people all over the world. It’s span is tremendous. Also, it allows you to connect with old friends.  Back in the late ’90’s there was a guy who really invested in me, but it was only for a few months.  Recently, he looked me up on Facebook and I have been able to stay in touch with him. I speak with several of my college roommates as well.  We can look at pictures and videos on Facebook to see what is going on in each others lives. 

From a professional standpoint, it is beneficial to have a network of potential clients, employees, employers, and partners. From my point of view as a pastor, it is beneficial to have a network of people who are potential ministry partners and resources.  There are lots of people writing about how to use social networks advantageously, I am simply saying, that they are of great value. 

Twitter is a little different. I use it to update the status of my Facebook page. I use it on my mobile. I use it on my desktop. I have a Microsoft Outlook app that allows me to search through all of my twitter posts and all the posts of the people I follow.  This is a great research tool. I follow people relevant to my field. If their post aren’t valuable to me for awhile, I’ll stop following them.  Twitter allows me to stay in touch with current trends, articles, tools, etc. via the comments and links people post.

As for relational depth, I think the value of social networking is limited.  I can send a few sentence comments to old friends, but an actual conversation is difficult for me.  The exchange is limited, partly because I don’t want to spend all that time on my computer messing with it.  Nothing beats a real life conversation, but if that isn’t possible, Facebook and Twitter are better than nothing.  It’s kind of like the difference 20 years ago between the phone and a real conversation. Of course with Skype, there are even better possibilities for keeping in touch over long distances.

 

A word of caution.  You can waste your life away on these things if you allow them to crowd out valuable time. You can be too vulnerable and too transparent as well.  You should guard against the wasteful and harmful ways of using these tools and maximize the good ways of using these tools. 

Here and here are a couple recent articles that are brief and helpful regarding the wise use of social networking tools.

 

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