What's Missing in Social Media

I continue to be struck by how unproductive social media is in starting up constructive conversations about important issues. In trying to assert something we feel strongly about on Face Book or Twitter, what ends up happening is that we either offend others with a differing view (and thus get unfriended) or we preach to the choir (we get amen's from those who already agree with us).

Have you ever had you mind changed by someone on facebook? Probably not. Why is that?

What's missing? What's missing is conversation between two people in real time and space who are forced to interact not just with a meme, but with a person who represents the meme.

In a conversation, you have to consider the person speaking the words; you have too interact with someone who thinks differently about things than you do; and as a Christian, you must interact knowing that this person is also loved by God and made in his image. Thus, the possibility of respect, decorum, manners, exists as does the possibility of an actual constructive conversation.

But on the internet, you don't deal with a person, you deal with a screen and you deal with words ..and so somehow, the person becomes disassociated from the exchange. With no person in view, you can demonize, denigrate, and dismiss. (Go on Facebook now, find a provocative post and follow the comments to see this in action).

I want to live in a world and I want to pastor a church where real people talk to each other, where those with differing views are forced to "love" each other even if they do not agree with each other (love here is an action not a feeling)...

This world does not seem to be possible on social media.

Let's leave facebook to do what it does best - puppy videos, nature scenes and birthday announcements and let's not expect it to change hearts and minds. Let's have actual conversations with real people, in real space and time and see what happens.

Grace & Peace,

PS - I was recently called on the carpet by a friend after posting something I thought was innocuous, but which after reviewing the post, I saw did exactly what I just wrote about. To this friend I dedicate this post.

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