When more is less
Yesterday my attention was drawn to an article in the Economist on the booming use of social media in business. The writer points out that whilst many businesses are in freefall, the juggernaut of Facebook is going in the opposite direction, with its forthcoming flotation expected to raise at least $10 billion. The article then goes on to say the kind of thing that people like James Poulter have been saying for a long time – namely that the relational connectivity afforded by social media is just what businesses need. It also explains that the sheer volume of information businesses are gaining about their clients can lead to less engagement rather than more. The whole article really should be read. However, the most arresting phrase has to be this:
Some of the new social-media technologies have a clown-suit quality to them. They are amusing the first time, but rapidly become tedious.
It is a reasonable point, don’t you think? Not only that, but it is a point which would be well taken by the church. Sometimes I speak to people who see social media as the ‘silver bullet’ which will automatically propel the Gospel into the hearts and minds of untold thousands. It won’t. If your church isn’t warm, inviting and authentic without a Facebook page, then it won’t be any of those things with one. Social media is only as useful as the people who use it. Not only that, but its real quality is to be found in its ability to underpin relationships, not supplant them.
I don’t mind being a fool for Christ, in fact I regard it as an honour. However, I’m not sure donning a clown-suit is always the best way to find new disciples!