real people vs. youtwitface

July 14, 2009



On June 3, 2009, Conan O’Brian talked about the future merging of the major players in social networking – YouTube, Twitter and Facebook – into “one super time wasting website called: YouTwitFace.”

Let’s cut to the chase.  We need real people.  We are hard wired by God for relationships.  And relationships take TIME.  So, does social media help or hurt us in building real relationships? 

Case in point, this is one of my favorite tweets of all time…

@churchrd >> Wife said “are you listen to anythin I say?” I said “well if you had tweeted, I’d have heard you”. Wife rolls eyes.

This discussion is raging right now all over the blogosphere (OK… and between real people in face to face conversations.  It’s all good.)  Here are three examples that hit my Twitter feed this morning:

(1) John Dyer hosts a brilliant blog called Don’ about the role of technology in the redemption of culture.  Today’s post talked about the narcissistic bent we all have for significance, and the way the web fosters a “if I don’t post something, I don’t exist” mentality.  (The irony is not lost on me as I post my blog today.)  Read John’s thoughts here  >>

(2) Andrew Mason guest blogged today for, a great blog hosted by John Saddington about the intersection of technology and ministry.  Today’s post from Andrew was on the cost of TIME that social media takes from us.  >>

(3) Ah yes…  And my very favorite of the day.  Please enjoy “Twitter Will Kill You,” from our friends in the David Crowder Band

Here are my take away bullet points.  The first is mine.  The other two came from my great friend, teacher, and fellow Kingdom artist Jeremy Erickson:

(1)  We are called to love God and love people.  Jesus made a big deal of this.  So I filter my expenditure of time and energy through this grid:  Is this helping me to actively grow in love for God and in my love for other people, and/or is it encouraging the same in others?  LOVE becomes the deciding factor for me in judging social media.  Are you Twittering/Facebooking/YouTwitFace-ing to build up your ego (meet a “need” in you), or are you trying to honestly love/serve/encourage people and spur on more love for God and others with your posts.  You have to be honest and decide.

(2)  ala Jeremy:  Every advance in communication technology (from pen and paper to printing press to email an on and on…) has served to further remove people from face-to-face relationship building.  The solution?  Intentionally “break bread together.”  Share meals.  Talk over lunch.  Dinner with your family.  UNPLUG and BE TOGETHER on purpose.

(3)  ala Jeremy:  Take a tech sabbath.  This is SO HEALTHY.  I remember learning something from my heretic friend Rob Bell.  He talked about how, before the people of Israel were freed from slavery, their value was determined (as slaves) by how much they could PRODUCE.  After their exodus out of Egypt, they were free – they had been redeemed – now their value was again determined by their RELATIONSHIP to God.  So it is with us when we are redeemed by Jesus.  Rob Bell teaches the concept of a “sabbath” day – a day of REST from PRODUCING anything – as a reminder that we need to regularly bask in our RELATIONSHIP to God.  Unplugged.  Not tweeting, posting, crafting sermons, doing stuff…  Just enjoying God and our relationships with each other.

I love YouTwitFace.  I think social media has huge potential for actual, real-life relationship building inside and outside of the Church.  But we must prioritize LOVE, we must prioritize FACE-TO-FACE time with people, and we must prioritize RELATIONSHIP with God over PRODUCING for God in order to stay balanced and healthy.

What do you think?

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“real people vs. youtwitface” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.


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Psalm 24:7 & Luke 10:42 >> Like David, and Mary, I'm in pursuit of my one thing. I'm the Pastor at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Montgomery, IL. Pastor, teacher, writer, communicator, designer, and drummer. I definitely got the better deal in my marriage to Amy. And I couldn't be any more proud of my five amazing boys. Deeply grateful.

No responses to real people vs. youtwitface

  1. Yes! I made the blog! Does this constitute “the big time”?

    Good post here bro. It goes right along with your “not driving non-church-going friends insane” by investing actual real face to face time with people(church going or non-church-going). I know i struggle in that department. I’ve burnt bridges inadvertently just by a lack of communication. That’s not good, but something i’m working on. YouTwitFace can help in these situations but can never replace time actually spent with people in person.

    You’re right on brother.

  2. Good thoughts brother. Actually, YouTwitFace has helped me “stay in touch” with people quite a bit better than I would otherwise. I love the brief interactions with friends that remind me why I love ’em. But nothing beats conversation over lunch or a good cup a joe.

    High-five your bride for me. Or tweet her a howdy-doo on my behalf.