Monday, January 26, 2009

Barack Gets It

This article in the New York Times is worth a read.
But the idea behind [the new organization] — that the traditional ways of communicating with and motivating voters are giving way to new channels built around social networking — is also very evident in the White House’s media strategy.
If we changed this article to be about the church insteand of government, it is exactly the same idea we were trying to get across at this year's Ministers' school. The thesis statement of Ministers' School (if Ministers' School had a thesis statement) could have been a rewritten version of the quote above: "The traditional ways of communicating with and motivating disciples of Jesus are giving way to new channels built around social networking."
The undertaking will require Mr. Obama’s aides to wedge technology that worked for them in the campaign into the infrastructure of the White House, with its relatively older technology and security restrictions.
This quote could be rewritten to say, "The undertaking will require those who want to change the church to wedge technology that works for them into the infrastructure of the institutional church, with its relatively older technology and ecclesial restrictions."

The larger point being, the kind of ground-shifting changes the inaugural address talked about are also happening in the church specifically. It's not just about new technology; it is about a new way to look at the world.

3 comments:

Larry B said...

I had a couple thoughts about this.

My first question is how much does this new technology and new way of communicating reach real stakeholders in the issue? My sense is that it is currently only most effective with a small subset of the population and that subset is confined to a narrow age range and generally homogenous views on particular issues.

If that is the case, then this new technology and communication medium isn't particularly effective at getting across the spectrum of political (or church) constituents and effectively turns into a "magic mirror" that tells you what you like to hear.

There is a lot of youthful energy tied up in these new views, but the problems that need addressing span the whole gamut of constituencies.

The middle aged factory worker/retailer/service employee who just lost his job is probably not all that interested in how social networking is changing the playing arena, they just want to find another job.

My second thought is that I hope Obama doesn't focus too much on the idea of being a pioneer in ground shifting, so much as being an arbiter of many different ways of doing things, taking the best from each and realizing that different generations likely will respond and communicate in different ways. If he confines himself to the new media, he ultimately alienates a large part of the constituency and will probably have a much harder time achieving his objectives.

The church has to undertake the same balancing act.

kris said...

I thoroughly enjoy Facebook. Lately I've noticed a great increase in the number of folks in the 30-65 range "befriending" me; folks at church, my parents, my parent's friends (and friend's parents)...there's a lot more to social networking than college kids telling you which obscure band they're in to these days.

More than that, I hope that my generation doesn't posses a "generally homogeneous" view of anything; rather, I hope that like all other generations we hold a great mix of ideas on all sorts of issues.

sparklesax said...

where there is a will there is a way.
keep hope alive!