It's hard to know what to do and what not to do on the Internet. These are new forms of communicating, so we're trying out different rules of engagement. Often our social behavior forms by what gets on people's nerves.
We're making up the rules of Internet engagement as different platforms evolve. So I figure it's always good to check in with some experts to find out how things are developing. Conventions usually come about when irritations arise, so I asked a few friends what vexes them.
I frequently encounter rudeness on the Internet. When I do, I want to say, “Didn't anyone teach you any manners?” And then I realize that the rules of engagement are all different on the Internet. In fact, we’re kind of making them up as we go along. So, I asked a few friends for advice.
People are looking to their computers, tablets, and phones for sacred moments. How are churches responding?
Do I think we can have a reasoned debate about race, homophobia, and free speech in 140 characters? Do I think that it’s good to get my anxiety and blood pressure bursting from the comment sections?
Social commentators warn that if you don't manage your social media identity, someone else will. I recently learned this the hard way.
If Christian liturgy works on the imagination, so do disordered secular liturgies. Social media—despite its good uses—might be one example.
One week after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, there seem to be so many failures in the ways that our theology is playing out in the public sphere. And while quick responses, blog posts, sound bytes and tweets are important in this moment, as they emerge from varying political and evangelistic agendas they also expose some of Christianity's devastating aspects.
The temptation of Pinterest is in the part of it that is trite, banal and predictable. But that's not all there is to the site's appeal.
Social media can reduce activism to a fad—something that we take part in because a particular Twitter hashtag is trending, a video has become viral or a Facebook cause has become popular. It can ignore the hard work that has been taking place over decades and discount a long-term strategy that a community might have.
As important as it is to minister from those wounded places, to preach about real emotional issues, and to write from a place of spiritual depth, there is also danger in it—for us and for our communities.
Church leaders are already strapped with not enough hours in the day. And now we’re supposed to be engaging in social media too? How do we manage it all?
“Online, I minister to people I may never see. But I am starting a conversation that may lead them to a church.”