Blog or Re-Blog

reblogI describe myself as an occassional blogger. As I’ve mentioned before, I blog about family stuff, what’s going on with my kids, what’s happening in our Student Ministry and various things related to youth ministry. Some of the things I post are simply re-posts (or re-blogs) of content someone else has posted. There are many good resources available on blogs and websites and it is good to share that information.

I have been thinking recently about original posts versus re-blogs. WordPress offers the option to re-blog someone else’s post. Twitter gives you the ability to re-tweet what someone put on his/her timeline. Facebook gives you the share feature.

As someone who blogs occasionally, I wonder how much content out there is original or just a re-working of what someone else has done. I don’t think any one person has the corner on the market on wisdom in any field, but I also don’t want to be that person who just re-posts someone else’s stuff. Any other bloggers wrestle with that.

When I look at some Twitter accounts, the majority of some people’s timelines are re-tweets. Where do we draw the line of re-posting what others say and striving for original thoughts?

Feel free to chime in. And re-blog if you’d like.

Social Media = Unfiltered Opinions?

social_media_status_infographic-01Recently, I’ve noticed that when social media comes on, the filter appears to get turned off. What someone might not say in a public, face-to-face setting goes up in an instant on social media.

A few examples…

During game 6 of the NBA Finals, there were a multitude of tweets about LeBron’s headband. Now I know that star athletes are under the microscope and people comment on everything they do, but I was surprised by the number of tweets about whether LeBron was better or worse without the headband. Some comments were made about his appearance and hairline as well. Of course, all this is going on during the actual basketball game, not after the contest had already been decided.

On Instagram today, someone posted a statement of faith from some organization (which was unnamed) and then made a comment regarding the statement. This led to further comments and then clarification of previous comments. Most of the comments were critical in nature.

On Facebook, I remember seeing a post a few weeks ago about a medical care provider. The person writing the post was unhappy with the care offered, then proceeded to name names and give specifics on what lead to his/her unhappiness and why he/she would never return to that provider. Then the poster asked for referrals to other care providers. While I think we need to be confident in those who provide any type of service to us or our families, I’m not sure Facebook is the place to post grievances.

Back to Twitter, just today someone posted about a pending decision from the Supreme Court. Then the tweet offered this word of social etiquette – “Let’s all commit to acting like adults on Twitter today, OK?” You would think that wouldn’t need to be stated.

I’m all for social media and people’s right to express themselves. Naturally we all have our own opinions and we certainly aren’t going to agree on everything. I think we can even learn from others with whom we don’t agree. What is troubling to me is that it seems the filter is turned off when it comes to social media. Things I would not say in a public setting are fired off without much of a thought when I sit behind a keyboard or with my phone in my hand.

There is a greater opportunity to stay connected through various social media outlets and I enjoy taking advantage of those. It’s when we tweet before we think that we run into problems.

Teens, FB Friends and Social Media

Youth Ministry Media is a resource I have referenced before. They seek to help youth workers communicate with teens. They provide interesting information the use of social media in our culture and some free resources for youth workers.

Over the weekend they referenced two different pieces of information from Pew Internet and American Life Project. One had to do with the average number of friends teens have on Facebook and another that talks about what they share. Interesting that girls on average have more FB friends and that sometimes teens post false information to protect their privacy.

teen-facebook-friends-infographic

teens and social media

Two Wild Basketball Shots

With the number of video cameras that are present at basketball games. more and more remarkable and unexpected shots find their way to the Internet. Just this week, two pretty crazy shots came across my computer screen.

The first is unique in that it happened in our area. During an 8th grade basketball game in Blanchester, this game-winning shot took place. You’ve got to watch closely as the action happens pretty quickly.

This second video came across ESPN Twitter feed. A unique way of making a long three-point shot.

Longing for Beauty

I took the dog out for a walk this morning and had a few minutes to look at the changing leaves and enjoy the quiet of the morning. I took a couple of pictures with my iPhone of the changing leaves and some that had already fallen. As I did, it got me to thinking about our longing for beauty. What is it about us that causes us to pause when we see the colors in the sky at sunrise or sunset? Why we do we marvel at the various trees as their leaves begin to change?

I read earlier this week that Instagram surpassed Twitter in number of users. Someone commented that pictures have more power than words. While many pictures on Instagram are of people, many of them are of natures, works of art or things that simply capture the eye of the photographer.

When it comes down to it, we long for beauty. And that longing is the fingerprint of God in our lives. God loves beauty and He has placed that in our hearts. So, this month as you take in the changing leaves or pause to watch a sunset, just be reminded that it reflects the character of God in each of us.

Teens and Changing Technology

Technology is in a constant state of change. The latest buzz has been about the unveiling of the iPhone 5. I saw a tweet today that said the Apple store is off-line as they update their stock. (It is off-line….I checked!) If you feel like you just can’t keep, welcome to the club.

In light of that, I thought a post on Doug Field’s blog was timely and informative.  In this entry. he talks with Jonathan McKee, a youth worker, speaker and author.  They discussed the changes in technology and social media and specifically how teens are using these various outlets.

Here’s a few of the questions and answers.  Thought their thoughts on texting and Twitter were interesting and worth watching.

DOUGI’m almost afraid to post something about technology, because it might be out of date by the time I hit POST. In your book The New Breed you talk about how much technology has shifted in the last 5 years alone. Give us a glimpse of some of these big changes.

JONATHAN: It’s even scarier talking about technology in a book, in fear that it will be out of date by the time the book goes to print. When the first edition of this book came out five years ago (which really isn’t too long ago), MySpace was still a social network contender. Now, most people chuckle when you mention the site (“It’s so three minutes ago!”). In the last 5 years…

MySpace has shriveled while Facebook has become the social networking powerhouse. As of the end of 2011, 93% of 12-17-year old social media users have Facebook pages, while only 24% have a MySpace.

Pinterest has proven to be a major player in the social networking scene, especially among women (I already have a page so I can see my daughter’s posts of her artwork).

•As texting and social networking grew, young people use email less. You know this if you’ve tried to email a kid—they don’t email back. Text them, you’ll get a response in 10 seconds.

Smartphone ownership crossed the 50% mark recently, with 55.5% of US subscribers now owning smartphones. 58% of 13-17-year olds now own a smart phone, compared to 36% last year, and 74% of 25-34 year-olds own smartphones, up from 59% last year (NielsenWire, 9/10/12). This increase has obviously boosted mobile browsing to new levels

•The time people spend on apps per day finally surpassed traditional web browsing. (TechCrunch)

DOUGSo, I hate being asked about the future, but I’ll ask you–what do you think is next?

JONATHAN: Wow, you’re asking me to go on a limb here. I usually don’t like to predict the future as much as provide a glimpse of what is current. I’ll push the envelope here a little bit and give two predictions based on recent changes:

Texting has hit its peak. I’m not saying that texting is dying… I don’t think it’s going anywhere. It’s simple, quick, easy… and fun. But Nielson’s teenage texting numbers actual dropped a notch in the third quarter of 2011 for the first time in years! Personally, I think this is because of the rise of smart-phone ownership, mentioned above. More young people can Facebook each other or Tweet. I think these alternatives will trim the edge off of texting. Texting will stay strong… but I think we’ve seen its peak.

Twitter is on the rise. In the past year I chuckled when people mentioned Twitter and Facebook in the same sentence. Over 90% of teenagers are on Facebook, and at last count, about 16% of online teenagers were on Twitter  (and 95% of American teenagers are online). But watch closely… that Twitter number is growing. Why? Young people are still TV addicts and they can only watch people like Howie Mandel on their favorite shows Tweeting their fans so many times before they think, “I’ve gotta get me that!!”

Viral – book review

I’ve had the opportunity to hear Leonard Sweet speak on one or two occasions and have read some of his other writings.  I like his insights and how he sees how the church can impact culture.  I also find myself having to read a paragraph a couple of times to really grasp what it is he is trying to say.  While he is a student of culture, he also brings his love for history and poetry into his writing.  He definitely challenges your thinking.

In Viral, he draws a distinction between two groups of people.  One groups he called “Googlers.” Sweet sees them as natives to the culture of social media. The other group he calls “Gutenbergers,” meaning those who grew up in the culture of the printed word. I found it slightly ironic that his message about a more digital form of media arrived to me in printed (paperback) form.  I think it shows the continued tension that exists as part of our culture has embraced the digital while others cling to printed text.

Sweet uses this acronym in his book:  TGIF.  It doesn’t refer to the well-known phrase many use as they anticipate the weekend.  Instead, he gives it new meaning to highlight the growth of social networking:  Twitter, Google, iPhone, Facebook. In his book, he explains the impact of each of these on our culture.

One of the big distinctions Sweet points to about the Googler versus Gutenberger culture is the idea of connection.  Those who have embraced social media in its many forms are about connecting with others.  While some in the Gutenberger camp see the connections as superficial, for the Googler, they are relational connections.

Sweet encourages the church to take advantage of the desire for connection.  Throughout Viral Sweet looks at ways the church and individual Christ followers can make use of social media to advance the message of Jesus.

Viral would be a good read for both the Googler and Gutenberger.  Social media has and will continue to impact our culture.  Our response will be how we chose to make use of it.