Saturday, December 08, 2007

[THO] Assessing Blog Posts

One of the big road blocks I'm hitting in my research is if and how I can use blog content. I am living proof that pretty much anyone with a computer and the requisite time can put up a blog and begin posting. Obviously some blogs are more useful than others and Matthew Hindman did his dissertation (Princeton, 2005) on the state of political blogs. I am about to tackle this, but my issue is that political blogs are a whole different demographic than what I am after - at least I hope so. Karen Ward mentions, in Gibbs and Bolger's EMERGING CHURCHES, how her community all read each others blogs as a means of staying connected, Freedom does this through Facebook and in the past we did it through Yahoo!Groups. It really shouldn't be a problem as I'm doing my critical work mostly with the published corpus. Any thoughts?


Hank said...

I'm curious: do you require your members to sign up for Facebook accounts, or did it happen organically?

What if someone wanted to join your fellowship but had reservations about doing so through 'social networking sites?'

One of Freedom said...

I haven't changed the settings Hank, but I'll look at them and see if they evolved into something more awkward.

That's a great question. But the social networking tool is not used to reach out and grow the community, rather it is used by a subset of the community to keep in touch beyond the meetings. But we do run into this from the other side of the issue. We have had people opt out of these networks and we have people not connected to the internet. So in our community, at least, we have had to look at these tools as a part of our community strategy and we need to be conscious of the ones we know who are not connected in this way. It isn't perfect obviously, but part of it is not really intentional anyway - I was a late adoptor of Facebook in my community, so in a sense I'm following their lead.

The other thing that we do, and I think is common in Emerging Churches, is to be upfront about not being the right community for everybody.

Hank said...

I was curious in how you were using it, as I just (this past summer) took on a MySpace account for the purpose of connecting with the teenagers in our church.

I find that it is very useful in discipleship, in that I can be a guiding 'voice' away from the church buildings and function, much more so than without it.