Not quite technology
Do you remember Beta-max videos? The answer is that you probably don’t. If you still use videos at all they will be VHS and not their older, clunkier cousin. Sometimes in Christian organisations we introduce new technology in such a way that it smacks of a person proudly unveiling their new beta-max home entertainment system when others are watching blu-ray.
Yesterday I was at a wonderful Christian gathering in Central London. There were people from many nations gathered under one roof, and many stories to be told of the wonderful, life-enhancing things going on in some of London’s churches. The organisation who were hosting the day are looking ahead too. They have a clean new logo and a forward-thinking strategy which embraces the future far more than it clings to the past.
However, when somebody brandished an i-phone at the front, asked ‘do you have one of these’ and then said ‘we are on Facebook and Twitter’, I decided to have a look at the Twitter account. Sadly, it was a bit of a beta-max moment. The account name has fourteen characters, four of which are LAST year’s date. In fourteen months there have been a little over 400 tweets, 90% of which are retweets. There is no engagement, no conversation and little immediacy. Of course, social media is nowhere near the top of their priority list. Quite rightly, they have more important things to do in supporting churches and congregations in the work they do. If we are going to have a social media presence, though, it has to count.
Social media is meant to be social, and cannot be used simply as a pin-badge of contemporary technological awareness. Does anyone else recognise the problem, and if so, how can we encourage best practice?