We’ve been looking at fostering civility on the internet all wrong. We’ll explore why some popular theories like “echo chambers lead to political polarization” don’t hold water, and why “calls for unity” are misguided (at best). Then we’ll look at how modifying our online interaction towards giving voice to the marginalized might be the true key to a better social media environment. Wil is an Ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church who specializes in technology ministry. He helps churches, pastors, and social entrepreneurs to leverage the Holy Spirit through techniques pioneered by internet startups. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
Who knows what will happen with the future of Methodism? I don’t, but I’ve noticed that hasn’t stopped people from imagining a new name for a new Methodism. Names are powerful. They are hopes and dreams and mission and identity all wrapped up in a neat little alphabet package. If there is a new Methodism, it needs to be built on a firm foundation, an affirming foundation.
In my last piece, which argued the case for using Snapchat in church (part 1), I offered reasons why Snapchat is especially effective at reaching teens and young adults. The primary use of Snapchat is for one-on-one chat. What separates Snapchat from other social media is its perceived privacy — the social media equivalent of talking to a teen alone. This should raise red flags, both as a violation of Safe Sanctuaries policies and as an uncouth invasion of a teen’s privacy. Many challenges accompany using Snapchat for ministry. However, there are also Snapchat features that are less invasive and offer potential benefits – including youths’ willingness to open up over chat. Let’s talk about both.
My passion, my ministry as a deacon, is helping churches to leverage technology to the glory of God. One of the promises of social media is that it allows us to meet people where they are, both literally and figuratively. Some of the people, particularly teens, are on Snapchat. The fun, casual nature of Snapchat lets you build the kind of intimate relationships people claim can never happen online. These sorts of relationships are the kind that churches greatly desire within their communities and with God.
Rev. Wil Ranney
I am a Ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church who specializes in technology ministry. I help churches, pastors, and social entrepreneurs to leverage the Holy Spirit through techniques pioneered by internet startups. more info
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