Trends // How transparent are we?
This week I want to explore some trends that I see in the general culture . . . and wonder about their potential impact on the local church world. I’d love your thoughts on my wonderings!
I love this pitch for Jeff Jarvis‘ book “Public Parts”: More than 750 million people (and half of all Americans) use Facebook, where we share a billion times a day. The collective voice of Twitter echoes instantly 100 million times daily, from Tahrir Square to the Mall of America, on subjects that range from democratic reform to unfolding natural disasters to celebrity gossip. New tools let us share our photos, videos, purchases, knowledge, friendships, locations, and lives. Yet change brings fear, and many people—nostalgic for a more homogeneous mass culture and provoked by well-meaning advocates for privacy—despair that the internet and how we share there is making us dumber, crasser, distracted, and vulnerable to threats of all kinds.”
I think Jeff describes the tension well . . . we live in an increasingly transparent world. We are living in an every more public way all the time. But there are forces around us that are scared by this new reality and want to push back at all this sharing and return to a more private era.
This new publicness is having an impact on businesses and organizations all around us . . .
- Bad products used to be able to hide behind marketing glitz but now online reviews make or break products all the time. [Even some of the reviewers build their own following!]
- Online reviews are limited to products anymore . . . you can find transparent reviews for virtually every service and product under the sun! Here are some fun examples: [Doctors] [Dentists] [Lawyers] [Teachers] [Public Sleeping Areas in Airports!]
- Every minute 48 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube . . . that’s a lot of kids plays and cats playing piano! [Source]
What does all this mean for us in the local church? Are we living in the public sphere enough? How can we encourage our people to connect with us in public more?
- At Liquid we’ve taken to allowing open comments on every single message on our website . . . this gives anyone the ability to tell us what they think about what we’re talking about. It’s been fascinating to watch some discussion ensue online because of this. [Check out our library.]
- What if that smart phone app you’ve been developing for your church had a “thumbs up or thumbs down” button that would appear at the end of the service? And what if we publicly posted those results to show people what they are thinking about what’s happen at our church?
- What if encouraged our people to review the classes (or small groups?) at our church on our website? People could get a sense of whether that class is worth their time by seeing what other people think about it . . . rather than just what our sales machine says.
What about you? How do you think we could be more transparent as a church? How can we encourage our systems to be more open?