Why Do We “Like” Each Other?
Cell phones, tablets, the internet, GPS, social media, hashtags, handles, tweets, computers, smart watches, smart phones, smart cars, iEverything! It’s amazing that one could ever find time to call a loved one or visit a friend with all of these distractions around us. We see all of this technological convergence and the “connection” that it gives us to the rest of the world and yet it is becoming more and more common for two people to sit next to each other on a bus, staring at a screen, without ever knowing the other is present.
With the rapid changes that seem to happen overnight, it is hard to wrap one’s mind around all of the technology available to us these days. One particular part of this new world that I find interesting is social media. While there are countless social media platforms to choose from, the idea behind them is simple; using a device of your choice you can be a part of an online service that allows you to “connect, like, and share” with one million of your closest friends. One of the most popular social media platforms is Facebook, which now has over 500 million users, over half of which use the site from their mobile phone. In seeing this staggering number of users, I constantly find myself wondering how we in the church can use these technologies for ministry. I also wonder if I myself “like” the idea of being able to connect with 500 million people.
I think of all of the wonderful letters that Paul wrote to help form the early church and wonder if he would have “liked” to use social media in his ministry. This idea of a “like” in the world of Facebook is simple. A Facebook user is able to click a “like” button when another user submits something to the site. This something can be a picture, link, an invitation to an event, or even a simple summary of how the person’s day went in text. So what does a “like” in this digital sense really mean? On the surface, a “like” just seems to be a way to derive a metric from public opinion as it is an interaction between two people or entities where one shows interest in another’s content. I don’t think that Paul would have been very interested in this sort of big data digital patronage. But what if a “like” is more that just showing others which books you read or products you buy?
Take our church Facebook page for example. Have you tried giving us a “like”? It takes less time than reading this paragraph. When someone from our congregation or someone outside our walls visits our church Facebook page they can find the same sort of information about our church that you can find in News and Happenings and on our church website. This provides another, more trendy way for people to see whats going on in the life of the church. If they then decide to “like” us, they will then get a notice anytime the church posts an update. This is key. With the click of a computer mouse or the tap of a finger on a smart phone, someone who has never been in our walls can be connected to a stream of all the wonderful things that we are doing here in our Hyde Park Community. I think that Paul would have “liked” this tool for communication. What a way to share the Good News of Jesus to transform lives, Cincinnati, and the World!
While these new technologies are sometimes daunting and confusing, I am excited to see all of the ways that they will help our church to connect and grow with those around us. I am also excited to see how these tools will help draw our community closer together and to God. I hope that you will start to “like” it too!
Director of Communication and Multi-Media