Monday, 7 September 2009

Socalnomics: Scanning the horizon

Interesting meetings are in the diary this autumn about the possibilities and challenge of social media in the Church. Investigating the effects of social media on marketng practice, I’m reading Erik Qualman’s Socialnomics this week — a rather chipper and US based assessment of the marketing angle. He begins with facts and figures that make yer think...
video
However breathless and enthusiastic this stuff may seem, it’s a more informed perspective than idiocy in the Dinosaur media about how Facebook eats teenagers’ brains and makes them suicidal, neither of which assertions seems to be particularly true. Something significant is happening, with a capacity for benefit as well as evil.

One suggestion here is that the whole idea of “broadcast” in the sense of a few big powerful media beasts shoving its stuff at you wholesale, with no opportunity to bite back, is fatally undermined now. He also makes great play of the idea that in a fast developing world such as ours, organisations that hang around wondering what to do about stuff put themselves at an immense disadvantage, compared to people who get on with doing something interactive with real human beings, even if it’s not perfect.

A bit of a challenge, then. But I’m not downhearted because the story about Church communities on the ground is often very positive. We’re such an inherently bottom-up dispersed organization, we’ve a lot less unlearning to do than slick eighties corporations with big marketing budgets and associated politics. The trixical strategic bits are around how dioceses and national institutions can genuinely support and enable local talent, relationships and excellencebut then, that’s always what we try to do anyway...

6 comments:

ramtopsrac said...

I agree totally with your comment about "doing something interactive with real human beings, even if it's not perfect". This is something I've been struggling with at www.muwinchester.org.uk and have recently blogged about at http://ramtopsrac.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/blogging-to-build-community/

For me using blogs, and social networking stuff is part of being bold in talking about the stuff we do in and through God's strength, and using wisely the resources of the era we live in for God's glory. Isn't that why Jesus used parables and drew in the sand?

However, I think my experiences with people not interacting with websites/blogs via "comments" suggest that there is a certain amount of unlearning that does need to be done by the 'bottom', and that some at least have a fear of that sort of interaction on the web.

The same might be true of those who don't seem able to cope with blog software used for content management.

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Many thanks — the old "just do it" slogan shows the way, I think. In the early days of new media it was natural for people to be rather wary and self-conscious about using them. There are still one or two infelicities about blogging software, but the way is open to be far more connected and interactive together. I'm most impressed by the MU Winchester site, and have added a dynamic link to it, and to your blog. The more communicative and relational we can be, the more we can encourage each other and grow in confidence. Whatever the risks, the benefits in terms of openness and trust must enrich our common life. Thanks again.

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Many thanks — the old "just do it" slogan shows the way, I think. In the early days of new media it was natural for people to be rather wary and self-conscious about using them. There are still one or two infelicities about blogging software, but the way is open to be far more connected and interactive together. I'm most impressed by the MU Winchester site, and have added a dynamic link to it, and to your blog. The more communicative and relational we can be, the more we can encourage each other and grow in confidence. Whatever the risks, the benefits in terms of openness and trust must enrich our common life. Thanks again.

Matt Wardman said...

>MU Winchester site

Oooh. A blog without dates. Excellent.

Matt Wardman said...

>The more communicative and relational we can be, the more we can encourage each other and grow in confidence.

A further point, Alan.

The danger of that is that we over-emphasise the communication process (i.e., talking) and can lose sight of "getting there", especially as it is a good way of avoiding unwlecome but necessary conflict.

I might diagnose that as an occasonal General Synod problem :-)

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