29 January 2010

Friday Five: Social Media

This week's Friday Five, courtesy of RevGalBlogPals:

I had the joy of spending time with Songbird last weekend, someone I would have never met had it not been for the blogosphere. Now we keep in touch using a large variety of methods: blog (hers a lot, mine not so much lately), facebook, twitter, text messaging, chat and email. So far there has been no skype.

It got me thinking of the pros and cons of these relatively new means of communication and interconnecting and so I ask you the following:

  • 1) What have been the benefits for you of social networking (blog, twitter, facebook, etc...)

First, I keep in touch with far more of my friends far better than I have in years. We joined Facebook sometime in 2007 on the invite of a seminary friend, but things really took off after we moved to Ames and I started really using Facebook as a means of communication and contact. I’ve reconnected with some friends I really missed, especially from high school and college, and even some family members with whom I’ve always wanted to be more connected. So, obviously, connection is a big deal, especially over the last two years.

I’ve been blogging since 2005/2006 or so, but much of what I once did on my blog is far more easily shared via Facebook. Now the blog has become more of what I thought it would be: an avenue to share more dedicated writing, such as sermons and the like. I don’t do as much as I want to right now, but I think once the girls get a little older and less supervision-intensive, I can get back to some more demanding writing.

  • 2) Which medium do you use the most? Or if you use them all, for what do you use each of them?

Facebook is what I use the most, by far. Everything we do as a campus ministry goes out over Facebook. I also use Constant Contact to do mass announcements, while the blog, as I noted before, has become more of a writing site these days.

  • 3) If you could invent a networking site (with no limits on your imagination), what would it provide? What would it not provide?

Honestly, I wouldn’t, because there’s enough out there already. I don’t think you could make a networking site that would be revolutionary enough to overcome the fact that it’s just one more login/network to suck up my time.

  • 4) Who have you met that you would not have met if it were not for the 'miracle' of social networking?

I’m Facebook friends with a number of fellow bloggers, some of whom blog anonymously. That, to me, is really freaking cool. And it gives me people to look up when I’m headed somewhere IRL.

  • 5) Who do you secretly pray does not one day try to 'friend/follow' you?

Honestly, I don’t think I should answer this, because you KNOW the second I do that person is going to look me up via Facebook, right? J Actually, I can’t think of anyone – is that a sign I need to live a bit more dangerously?

  • BONUS: What was the most random/weird/unsettling/wonderful connection you made that would not have happened if it were not for the ease of which we can find each other in the computer realm?

Last spring I was in Eugene, OR for my father-in-law’s retirement celebration. I arranged a few hours to get away and write my next sermon one afternoon, and I found a really neat local coffee shop online for my mobile “office.” While I was there I remembered that an old camp friend had lived in Eugene for a while, so on the off chance she was in town and free I dropped her a note via Facebook telling her where I was and how long I’d be there. Not twenty minutes later she walked into the coffee shop, which, as it happens, is only a block or two from her office. We had a perfectly lovely chat, and it was just wonderful. Now I look forward to hopefully meeting her again next time we’re in Eugene. There will be more random Facebook meet-ups, I’m sure, but this one wins for sheer coincidence and “only because of Facebook” randomness.

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