But today I ran into this… Apparently the hipsters and techno-files are all a-flutter over a new iPad App called Flipboard. I’m a little Twitterpated myself…
Flipboard bills itself as “Your own personalized social magazine.” Drawing content from your friend networks on social media sites like Facebook an Twitter, its content is updated constantly and presented in a magazine publication design format. Brilliant. Custom content + social interaction. This is the new interwebs, people! Web 2.0 leaves isolation behind and trades it in for a shiny new “connected” experience where personalization and interactivity trump static content.
This is a big deal. This is not your father’s internet… wait… your father’s internet was called “books.” Too far back. Um… this is not your older brother’s internet. In other words, we have seen a tectonic shift in the way the internet functions. This is a whole new era. We need to change our thinking…
Bottom line: the first decade and a half of the internet’s rise to prominence was marked by a presentational model of communication, developed and based in the linear paper-and-ink style. Email, and most websites viewed by the general public, were set up in this way. You would visit a site address and read what was presented to you. Businesses set up their web sites like digital magazine ads. Presentation. As if what was on the screen was simply a digital reproduction of what we could just as well read or view on paper.
Visit any prominent organization or business’s website today and what do you find? “Follow us on Twitter. Join our fan page on Facebook. 15% Foursquare discount if you check in on site. Check out our blog page…”
Interactive. Personalized. Communal. Digital community. So goes the web.
As a church leader, I see huge upside to being “connected.” I see huge upside to making our church websites interactive… to harnessing the digital space on Facebook and Twitter to keep community interacting between weekend services or Tuesday night Bible study groups.
I get excited about a day when I open my Flipbook on my very own iPad, and it is filled with pictures, videos, and status updates from my church family… links to articles they are reading, and threads of conversation about what has captured their attention this week. I mean, we do that already, communicating with our tribe on Twitter and Facebook. But I see the integration of connection, technology, and everyday life becoming more and more the norm. Flipboard is representative of this change. Connection is coming to us now. Smart-phones an laptops and iPads make it possible (if you want to) to stay connected to a digital community from almost anywhere, at almost any time.
Of course, there are some dangers that accompany this new interconnected “life-streaming” technology. Such is the case with EVERY technology. The printing press first mass produced God’s word. It also produced pornography. Films like “Schindler’s List” inspire deep and important thoughts about life and faith. But the same technology can be used to produce vile, life-sucking content. Every technological advance comes with an upside, and its very own dangers.
As a part of the Church, I want to help embrace and harness the upsides of this social-media inter-connection for greater community and greater Kingdom impact. We are God’s agents of redemption. Let’s take that calling into digital culture and be a connected presence online, representing our King with humility, conviction, and honor.
Sure, I could just sit by myself watching Transformers 2 on a new iPad… But apps like Flipboard remind me that there is far more value in “connection” that in “isolated distraction.” Web 2.0, I say bring it on.
“flipbook + ipad = yes :: connection is the new isolation” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.