Don’t just LIKE, Be Social

“Don’t just LIKE, Be Social”

The long and short of this post is:

What if we didn’t favorite a tweet, like a post or +1 an image without also commenting?  

I have been looking at the way we use social media and studies that go alone with life satisfaction and what gains traction and what doesn’t. A number of studies have shown the effects of facebook on our mental health.  One of the most notable comes for the University of Michigan which found support for the hypothesis that the more you use facebook the worse you feel.  Check it out here

A little while ago a study was conducted using twitter to show the life-cycle of happy vs unhappy tweets.  Interestingly even happy tweets would at times gain steam because of negative feedback.  Sorry I couldn’t find the source for this one.  You can see another study that attempted to quantify happiness or sadness via tweets.  Though the source and research techniques may be a little more suspect but may uncover a trend.  Check it out here

It shouldn’t be a real surprise that the things that keep coming up seem to be negative or of no real value.  Case and point, this week being all of the talk of the newest Kim Karshshidan pic (mehh) overshadowing the fact that a drone was landed on a comet (super cool).  We see the trend to the negative in television news stories too because they are the ones that get the ratings rather than stories filled with rainbows and unicorns.

So what is social good for?

Being social, of course.

Our social interactions have the potential to make some really powerful connections, but they often lack real interaction.  We like, retweet and plus one things rather than engaging and adding to the conversation.  This may be illustrated when a friend posts that they have just suffered a tragic event or lost someone close to them and there are always a handful of people who respond the the information by pressing the little thumbs up.

Sure there is a kind of social contact that is happening, but there i little fellowship that is happening.  I am reminded of Howard Thurman’s comments as a precursor voice to the civil rights movement who recalled the understanding of contact without fellowship.  Thurman’s reminder of calling us back to true connection and conversation may have application in breaking down a different kind of barrier today.  When we only have the perception of someone else’s story without knowing their story we quickly paint an unfair picture of this person or group.  Or as one pastor puts it:

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.Steve Furtick

As we look to the holiday season, we have to realize this is a tough time for many people.  In every church I have served on staff of or volunteered at people mention the pain of the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.   I think that there may be a way for all of us to leverage social media for what it was made for, turning a profit through selling our personal information,  making meaningful connections with other people.

The Experiment:

So here is the proposal.  What if we didn’t like, favorite or +1 any social post without adding something to the conversation? 

I think this would do a number of positive things

  1. This may remind us that we are interacting with real people who are living real lives, just like we are.  Often we are comfortable with the anonymity of the web and forget that there is someone on the other end of the interactions
  2. It may foster some real and meaningful interactions that you cannot have through just a click of the mouse or a tap of your finger.
  3. At least in the case of Facebook it may make your social experience more pleasant because the more you interact in a positive way the more Facebook’s algorithm will serve you up a stream of meaningful posts rather than noise and junk.
  4. If we know we are going to interact more thoughtfully we may be more intentional about when and how often we get on our social sites.  Therefore we will get some of our day back.

I may be totally off point, but these are some anecdotal things that I have seen as I have tried to regulate my social media use.  It may be worth a try for you.  I know it has been positive for me.

Chromebook photo editing

This morning Going to worship I remembered a great comic from Wes Molebash that would work well with what we were talking about.  When I got to church I fired up the chromebook and went to work.  I have been shocked yet again how awesome this little guy has been.  All day battery life and its simple design keeps me on task.  However it can still whip our a graphic in a pinch thanks to the Pixlr editor.  SWEET

The Gospel in 140…Go

wordle_gospel_smallIn the age of twitter, how would you proclaim the Good News with only 140 characters? 

Redirecting to external links doesn’t count. 

Today the amount of written material and media is astounding.  Most of it is just background noise to us.  It is hard to have something that passes through our filters and then makes an impression.  It seems that there is great value in short and sweet.

So with 140 characters PROCLAIM the WORD!

Ministry Tools: FinePix xp20

FinePix XP20I am loving this little camera that I got for my birthday this year.  Katie got it for me thinking about camp,and the fact that I am rough on things. 

It is one of those cameras that is waterproof, freeze proof, impact resistant and dustproof.  I have been sticking it in my bag and taking tons of pictures and not having to worry about it when we do things like slip and slides, water balloons, shaving cream sculpting and other fun things at youth group.  Plus the impact resistance means that I can give it to Eden (my 4 year old) or one of my students and I don’t have to worry about it getting dropped and broken. 

It is really handy to have around.  I feel like there should be a little youth ministry seal of approval on items that can stand up to the riggers of student life. 

I also have an eye-fi card in it so that I can wirelessly sync the photos from the card to my laptop.  That way I can get the pictures off without having to worry about getting the guts wet after getting out of the pool.  It is the simple stuff that I like. 

Eden refers to it as hers so you know it is great.