Yesterday marked the start of the group blogging project for the book Flickering Pixels by Shane Hipps. Susan Stewart kicked things off with a post about chapter 1 . At the conclusion of her post, she asks an excellent question:
Are you using technology because it’s there (an idol)? Or, because it is the best way to communicate the message (a tool)?
I’d like to think I’m using each technology because it’s the best way to communicate, but if I’m totally honest I’d have to say that sometimes I choose certain mediums for other reasons. Two of them come to mind.
1) I want to be a leading voice in the conversation about technology and ministry
To do that I feel like I have to try to be among the first to use each new communication technology. If I want to be able to write, speak, and advise church and ministry leaders on how to most effectively communicate with their audience I need to have first-hand experience with each medium. I need to be able to say why an organization should or should not have a website, a blog, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and so on.
2) Other people are using the medium and I feel like I need to use the medium or risk not connecting with them.
With some mediums there is such an overwhelming expectation that you’ll be using it, that you have to. For example, it would be silly for OurChurch.Com not to have a website or not to have email because everyone expects to be able to communicate with a website services company via the web and email. The website and email are definitely effective ways to communicate.
An e-newsletter and blog are not absolutely essential, but we feel like they are both very effective ways to communicate with people.
We’ve recently started communicating with people through our Facebook page and Twitter. And to be honest, I would not consider either of them to be effective or worth the time we’re putting into them.
Effective or Idol?
To be honest, sometimes I blog, write a newsletter, Facebook, or Twitter because I feel like I have to. Does that mean they have become idols?
Good question. I’m not sure.
Commitment and consistency are absolutely essential to any effective communication. Can you imagine if a network decided not to broadcast a show one week because they didn’t fee like it? Can you imagine if your pastor decided to cancel church one week because he wasn’t particularly inspired to speak about anything?
New mediums are almost never effective or worth the time and effort you put into them at first. You have to put a lot of time and effort into creating a great blog BEFORE people start reading it if you ever want it to become effective. You have to update Twitter regularly when you have a small following if you want to gain a large following.
But periodically with every medium of communication we have to ask ourselves, “Am I putting the cart before the horse?” Am I blogging, Facebooking, Twittering, newslettering, or whatever because it’s effective or for some less noble reason?
How about you?
Are you using technology because it’s effective or has it become an idol?
How do you know?