It seems appropriate to call the nineteenth century the Industrial Age and the twentieth century the Technology Age. It also seems appropriate (at least right now) to call the twenty-first century the Communication Age. And maybe the first decade of the new century will be called the Tweety Bird era since the most popular items today are “tweets” and “Angry Birds.”
A new curriculum is evolving from the Communication Age. It is called “socialnomics” and builds its lessons on the social media of today. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Groupon and WordPress are leading tools instructing and informing individuals and businesses on how to exist in today’s world. Anyone who would argue that the social media is a passing fad may find themselves likened to those of the previous century who denounced television using similar words.
I recently watched a socialnomics video on YouTube with a group of pastors. The video emphasized the impact and importance of social media. One of the things we learned was that if Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s third largest country. The impact of socialnomics can be seen everywhere. You can “follow” movie or tv stars or even the local congressperson. You can “like” the White House and your local cosmetologist. You can be connected to the local TV news where your comments can become part of the reporting on issues and you can join the network news expressing your opinions on national and international issues and more.
The opportunity to talk about socialnomics should not be ignored as a fad by the church. A recent conversation about college ministry revealed that a congregation can maintain a connection with its young adult members through social media. If your church is partnered with a mission project in another part of the world or country, you can use social media as a way to connect people to people. Congregations can broadcast worship or pastors can provide Sunday’s sermon to those who are traveling or who cannot attend church at its regular time via podcasts.
The church risks its future by not being part of the Communication Age. We have a challenging opportunity for witness and evangelism. When we engage in socialnomics the results may certainly not be what we’ve come to expect from evangelism, but these results may be a surprise to us and the world.