Church Needs to Do Some Sociological/Spiritual R&D with Social Media @human3rror #smchurch #wiredchurch

John Saddington has an article today that I just ate up.  It’s a call for the kind of attention to technology channels that moves WAY beyond the usual bandwagon “this is cool” , “try this and that and back to this”  approach.

The Church’s future doesn’t sit with web technology alone, but it sure is important, and it’s going to require an increased fascination and dedication to it as a serious communication channel if we’re ever going to fully realize it’s full potential.

I like that phrase “Increased fascination and dedication”.  It’s something that involves and requires R&D,  which is something the church (and particularly its enabling organizations) seems perfectly willing to forego in deference to a hit and miss approach (and there WILL be hits and misses,  but I would think we don’t want to do this by design) .And worst of all,  the theological perspective we bring to the table is left out of the design and the discernment of what tools to use and why we use them.  I see very little exploration of psycho-social implications that have everything to do with the kind of church we demonstrate by the way we build our social media.

I am a bit nervous when I notice so very little exploration of these things even among the “church digerati”.  Maybe that’s my take as one bent toward the significance of sociological study,   and in particular,  psycho-sociology  (where we are faced with the question of how online tools affect our “spiritual experience” and how the tools affect the community and the distinctive characteristics we are called to enable and manifest.

However,  I found myself having a slight disagreement or slightly different emphasis ,  on how Murdoch missed the boat.  John writes:

Murdoch had made the buy with as much flair and fanfare possible. His research was sound, execution well-played, and his interest was obvious. He and DeWolfe went to trade shows, conferences, and events touting the future of online and how MySpace was going to be the arbiter….

5 Things the Church can Learn from the Fall of MySpace – ChurchCrunch

I’m not so sure his “research was sound”.  Not all of it. He studied the “dollars”,  but he apparently had no understanding of Internet culture.  At the time he bought MySpace,  the digerati were already turning their attention away from MySpace (he could have used “Twitter” then,  which was still yet to become the source of news that it is today).  And Murdoch’s business seems to operate like his idea of politics:  autocratic and manipulative.   His style of operation (and that of his chosen minions)  was and is out of place and diametrically opposed to the Internet culture.  We saw that in the almost immediate clash of operating style.  Murdoch further shows his cluelessness about Internet culture in his attitude toward the issue of News Corp content and Google results.  I say,  “go for it Rupert”,  since it will only further illustrate how those bent on old model empire will bury themselves with their hubris.  Ironically,  the signs of Internet monetary success (MySpace’s previous success achieved through a grasp of what works in Internet culture) are lost when that grasp is lost;  ie when Murdoch unleashed Levinsohn  on MySpace. 

A few weeks ago an article came out: The rise and fall of MySpace   that provided a rather insightful summary of what went wrong with v.Murdoch’s MySpace.

About Theoblogical

I am a Web developer with a background in theology, sociology and communications. I love to read, watch movies, sports, and am looking for authentic church.

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