Archives for category: social networking

My friend Dave Ingland, who I met at the first Idea Camp back in February in Irvine, California, just wrote a great piece about The Idea Camp.  Since the next Idea Camp is coming up soon — August 28-29, 2009 in Washington, DC — I’d like to share a few of my thoughts as well.

Here’s a quick summary of the ethos behind the Idea Camp (you can read more here):

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While there has been some robust discussion/debate on the benefits/drawbacks of twittering during church gatherings, along with some mainstream press, I find that this has not really been a relevant issue for our little community.  Only a couple of us use the Twitter and, out of that handful of people, I am probably the most actively engaged.  I must confess, I like gadgets (even if I can’t purchase them), but my interest in Twitter goes beyond fascination with shiny new toys.

This Time article, How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live, contains one insight in particular that I believe speaks volumes to those of us who believe church is a movement, not a monument; that it’s the people, not the buildings. End-user innovation in the Twitterverse is innovation:

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I think Twitter is causing my inability to write complete thoughts (speaking of which, you can still vote for my Twitter-inspired Threadles shirt!).  Well, at least, I’ll blame Twitter (Dear Twitter machine, thanks for being the fall guy… or should I say, fail guy? Terrible!)…

In any case, I’ve been enjoying Tumblr as a sort of photoblog repository for the miscellany and randomness I enjoy throughout the week.  I like the clean layout (especially after a few tweaks here and there) and the simplicity — my Tumblr is sort of a landing spot between a tweet and a fully-formed post that I would blog here.

Maybe one day, I’ll end up consolidating things.  It’s hard to predict my internet machine usage (these days, I hardly use the Facebook at all).  In case you’re interested, though, please check out for pictures, videos and quotes that catch my eye.

… as face to face interaction.

That’s not to say I’m jumping on any anti-Twitter bandwagons.  No, I’m not a big fan of using Twitter (or any other social networking media, for that matter) to randomly shout every bit of personal minutiae into the darkness (although, I must say, sometimes it is nice to catch up on the mundane parts of far-away friends’ lives). I think platforms like Twitter can be very useful for collaboration, and even building friendships. Eugene Cho hosted a  thoughtful dialogue about Twitter, faith and church life a little while back.

As much as I believe Twitter can be a good thing (although it’s killing my ability to write longer thoughts!), I don’t think it can ever replace face to face interaction.

Last Saturday, our family went to the San Diego Childrens Book Festival (which was lots of fun, by the way!).  Our daughter was really excited to meet the illustrator from the Fancy Nancy series, Robin Preiss Glasser, who was signing autographs at the Book Festival.  Our daughter is a little shy, so she practiced what she would say to Robin while waiting in line.  However, even after practicing, she was still too shy to say much to Robin when she was finally able to meet her in person.

This is where face to face interaction is irreplaceable: Robin was signing our daughter’s book and seemed to perceive that there was more she wanted to say.  So Robin had our daughter come around to the other side of the author’s table, asked a lot of great questions and took time to listen to her.  At the end, Robin gave her a big hug and took a great photograph with her.  My wife and I were so grateful for Robin’s perceptive, thoughtful interaction with our daughter.

This kind of empathy and perception is really difficult to emulate in a purely online conversation.  How many of us have misread the intent behind comments in the blogosphere because we couldn’t read non-verbal cues on our screen?