…never knew it would come to this

Unlike Hot Chocolate’s romance, my involvement online started with a click, rather than a kiss. In the early to mid -90s I only ever used computers as standalone word processors. I enjoyed doing it, and they helped me both with writing and graphics, but it was an isolated experience. Later on in the 90s I moved to a church with a well -established website, and got involved with writing a monthly online column and discussing new content. Over time my time spent online grew, and in late 2009 I started a blog, shortly followed by a Twitter account. One thing led to another, the blog grew beyond all expectations,  and this afternoon I find myself addressing the #medialit11 conference as a real live minister who engages online about my views on digital authenticity. How did that happen?

It happened, I think, not because of the kind of technology on offer but because of the kind of person I am.  I am passionate about communication, fascinated by people and proud to wear the ‘L‘ plate of a discipLe who still has lots to learn. My online involvement is an extension of what I do offline – meeting people, hearing their stories, winning the world more by embracing it than by confronting it.

I have written on here before about magpies and giraffes online -so I won’t repeat it. As I think about how to introduce myself in 15 seconds to #medialit this afternoon,maybe a seal might be the best image. They are reputed to be naturally curious and to enjoy human company. For me that is the same online as well as offline.

There has been a good deal of discussion recently about whether we should drop the labels ‘virtual’ and ‘real’ and adopt ‘online’ and offline’ instead. Overall, I think the latter are preferable. However, the trouble is that ‘offline’ sounds like a rather poor cousin to ‘online’, and as if it is the thing which happens when you haven’t paid your electricity bill. Maybe as disciples of a foot-washing messiah we should go for ‘online’ and ‘on foot’. What do you think?

Image: news.bbc.co.uk

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