of twitter and fruitcake :: open letter to social media skeptics who will never read this because they won’t see the tweet…

January 6, 2010

This past week I received baked goods in the mail.  Need I say more?

Twitter and Facebook have changed the way I live.  Before Christmas I sent out the following tweet/status update:

Eggnog is just liquid fruitcake. It’s only around during the holidays. And I’d rather get kicked in the knee than consume either one.

So began a heated and entertaining debate on the merits of eggnog.  And fruitcake.  Passions rose.  Lines were drawn.  And then… a challenge from my Cincinnati Twitter friend @utech…

@jskogerboe you need to send me your address so I can send you one of my Christmas Spice Cakes (aka fruitcake)…

So, I did…

@utech OK, you Packer-loving baking machine. Make me a believer. 4401 Adair Avenue North, Crystal, MN 55422

Smashcut to me cutting open a toaster sized cardboard box last week.  Looking at the return address. UTECH.  A)  He baked.  B)  He took the time to package it up like a nuclear weapon in multiple layers of foil, plastic wrap, and those awesome biodegradable packing foam peanuts.  C)  He paid to ship it.  To my house.  In Minnesota.

I don’t care WHAT you think about the delectable or unsavory nature of fruitcake.  There is NOTHING BETTER than receiving baked goods in the mail.  Except maybe for a huge check.  Or a letter from a long lost brother you thought never made it back from the war.  But still… baked goods are right up there.  Top five.

When Social Media connection spills over into real-life interactions, life is better for it.  When Social Media takes the place of real-life interactions, life is robbed by it.  But I submit this hypothesis for the skeptics…  I think that second scenario is rare.  I think that Social Media, like every technological advance in communication, is a very real change in the way our world works – and whose BENEFITS far outweigh its dangers.  I think YouTwitFace has redefined community – and I like what I see.

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, *fill in the blank* are often derided as frivolous by the skeptics.  For those not wired (pardon the ironic use of metaphor) to be interested in technology, Social Media is often written off as a passing fad.  An unnecessary distraction from REAL relationships – and the learning curve is just TOO high to deal with.  Therefore, it must be bad.  Or childish.  Or insignificant.  If this is where you live, it’s time to consider moving…

My network of relationships is spread around the country and around the world.  Today I have laughed, argued, and/or had direct conversations with connections from New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee.  I recruited a bass player for our church this week via Twitter.  I’ve had intensely personal chats online in Facebook this week.  Prayer requests spread through the Social network like a wave.  Life can be lived transparently now – tweets and status updates sharing information, thoughts, concerns, ideas.  Social Media provides real time connection between the face to face interactions of life.

I have never been very good at staying in touch with family and friends.  But now, I can easily pop in and out of conversations.  Share pictures and video clips.  Articles and blog posts.  Little touch points with people that matter.  I thank God for YouTwitFace.

It took a long time for my good wife to jump into the Facebook pool.  But she tried it…  Dipping her toes in at first.  Now she’s a regular Michael Phelps.  (But way more attractive, and unencumbered by dodgy illegal drug use photos.)  She loves watching relational connections multiply.  Earlier this winter she used Facebook to arrange for an out-of-state childhood friend to join her for a Women’s Ministry event at Living Hope Church here in the Twin Cities.  Now she is watching her friends from her work life, from her church, from her childhood all connect and stay in contact and interact by way of YouTwitFace.  It’s awesome.  And I mean that with some gravitas.  It is *awesome* to see how technology can fuel relationships.

The local church – your church – needs to embrace YouTwitFace.  Social Media is more than “Just had a sandwich. Changing my shirt. LOL.”  We used the printing press to make Bibles available to the masses.  Social Media can deepen relational connections.  The technological change is as big now as it was then.  The world is different now.  It’s time to get in the pool.  It’s time for the church to do life together.

I can’t guarantee that Twitter will lead to baked goods for you.  But it might.  How has YouTwitFace made your life better?  Post a comment below.  The world has changed.  Get in the pool.  Oh, and I prefer my chocolate chip cookies with no nuts… just a note for whomever might be so inclined.  My address is clearly and intentionally listed above.  Good times.


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“of twitter and fruitcake :: open letter to social media skeptics who will never read this because they won’t see the tweet…” 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.

14 responses to of twitter and fruitcake :: open letter to social media skeptics who will never read this because they won’t see the tweet…

  1. Eggnog is liquid fruitcake? Liquid fruitcake??? Am I adopted??? 🙂

    • No. You are my very own offspring. You just got momma’s ill-fated “eggnog gene.” I’m so sorry. At least you got my rhythm, ineffable charm, and wit.

  2. Hey, Josh. I agree with you. I’m as wired to be wired as they come (you used to call me livewire…remember that?)…

    Anyhoo, the one thing that I see in our next generation (having a particular vantage point as a high school choir director) is that our growing twitface world does have its drawbacks. The largest drawback I’ve seen is the inability of our young people to communicate well when face to face. Not just in verbal efficiency, but more so in non-verbal cues. It used to be said that 80-90% of communication is nonverbal…not so any more. Even when face to face, the actual nonverbal communication amongst young people is much less important. I have to remind students that they shouldn’t interrupt, they should face a person when speaking to them, etc. This has increased exponentially in the past five years.

    So, youtwitface away, I love it, but we must be intentional in our “real world” relationships, especially with the next gen, as to not lose the art of how to effectively communicate non-verbally.

    My two cents.

    Enjoyed the Bemidji pics. Hope you enjoyed your time there as much as we did. Next time you go up there, make a stop in Little Falls…we’ll treat you and your clan to lunch.


    • Thanks for the invite Garrett! I’d love that!

      Thanks, too, for your important perspective. Wowza. This is honestly fascinating. Our family is a bit isolated from the teen world yet – our oldest is just about to turn 12. We haven’t yet had to figure out monitoring of social media/texting/email usage, because Seth is just getting into it. It’s fascinating (and a little disturbing) to hear your voice as a teacher on this.

      When I wrote this, I guess I was thinking of my friends, peers, and even other church leaders who look sideways at technology. I’m thinking more and more about how MAJOR an advantage it is to understand and harness the tools available to us as a CHURCH family. At Living Hope, we are all about relationships that help each other grow and stay close to Jesus. Relationships are CENTRAL to our ministry philosophy (because we believe it’s Biblical.) How much more connected can we be as a church family if we communicate throughout the week – throughout the day each day – between church related gatherings?

      Thanks very much for your insight, brother. I hear that warning and take it seriously. In fact, it may be a good conversation point between me and our Youth Ministry leaders to chew on. MUCH appreciated.

      God bless you and the fam!

  3. Awesome post. Awesome, awesome, awesome!

    For years, my somewhat computer-illiterate (but increasingly less so) mother has been telling me, “Online friends are not real friends.” My counter is normally that they’re people, not algorithms, but she didn’t quite get it.

    On Tuesday night (36 hours ago) she joined Twitter.

    Last night while visiting for dinner, she made a reference to (and this is a direct quote) “My new best friend from Omaha.”

    I picked my jaw up off the floor in time for dessert.


    • Jeff, that’s a GREAT story about your mom. 🙂 I think the two greatest sources of resistance I get for my involvement in Social Media are (A) people who literally feel overwhelmed by the technology and think it is just beyond them (so they dismiss it) -and- (B) people who really fit into category (A) but pretend to have the knowledge and just choose NOT to use it (so they deride it). Then there are a few legitimately busy people who don’t want to slow their pace enough to learn. I get that.

      I’m just trying to figure out how to best communicate with the skeptics around me about the deep VALUE this stuff can bring to life. ESPECIALLY in our church. The more, the better, I say. Because the more, the DEEPER, I believe. 🙂

      Thanks much for your comment brother! God bless…

  4. Jennifer Leisenheimer January 7, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Yes…but how was the fruitcake your friend sent???? Are you a changed man? 😀

  5. Eggnog is fantastic… you’re way off base with that. And boiled custard is 10 times better. :>)

    On the media comments, yes, I agree with you there. Thanks for the clarification.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

    • Hey Marshall! Thanks much for checking in.

      As much as I hate to alienate a new commenter, I gotta stand up for all that is good and true. Eggnog is awesome. To much the same degree that flat tires and post nasal drip are awesome. Other than that, we are kindred spirits. God bless!

  6. Social media is awesome. My world is much bigger because of it, and I have met some wonderful people I would never have known existed otherwise. It’s just too bad it was fruitcake that brought you to the same conclusion. It’s not a baked “good.” 🙂

  7. I wish my church would embrace it all more. Great summary of its benefits.

    • I’m trying to figure out whether or not to be a “Twittervangelist” in our church. I see some HUGE possibilities here for connection and sustaining relationships. But there is a large contingent in our church that just isn’t interested. Great people – just not tech minded. One interesting fact about our church… After I jumped on the Twitter train and implemented a Twitter feed for our church, about 8 people from our congregation followed. About 7 out of 8 are basically no longer using Twitter. On the other hand, when we started a Facebook presence for Living Hope, we had almost 100 friend requests in the first two weeks. I guess our church is more of a “Facebooky” culture. We learn as we go.

      Thanks for stopping by Tyler. Love you blog, too.