Monday, March 19, 2012

Virtual Community & Social Media: It Takes a (Global) Village and What Else?

As you can probably tell from my previous post, I was on fire this past weekend about the possibilities and pitfalls; joys and challenges of virtual community. Better make that, Refiner's fire (1Peter 1:7).

It's Lent, it's Spring, it's life in the world of social media where so-called normal time frames simply do not apply.

After years of participating in/on/through social media and observing it from my vantage point as a sociologist, I've come up with a ratio that captures real-to-virtual time. 1:3 (one month/year of engagement with social media is equivalent to three month/year IRL).  Pretty coolio sacred about the three, eh?

I like moving quickly -- in a prayerful discernment way, of course -- but even I am slightly blown away by speed with which virtual communities form, develop, growth, evolve, devolve, and eventually leave our mortal online coil. I'm also fascinated by what forms the contemporary aphorism, "it takes a village," end up taking during the lifespan of digital communities.

What does it take to build an online community? How can social media help? What sorts of additional or different community-development skills might be required for online communities? How about for online communities of faith and/ones positioned as churches? Let's chat!

1 comment:

Jean Ann Schulte said...

Engaging questions. I would add: How does the sometimes ephemeral life of a social community co-exist with and complement building sustainable IRL community? Would love to see more people jump in and get a rollicking discussion going!