flipboard + ipad = yes :: connection is the new isolation

July 21, 2010

I don’t have an iPad.  They are super-freak cool, don’t get me wrong.  But up until today they have seemed to be primarily designed as amazingly slick individual entertainment devices – at a pricepoint I can’t justify just yet.

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.

    

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“flipbook + ipad = yes :: connection is the new isolation” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported 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.

7 responses to flipboard + ipad = yes :: connection is the new isolation

  1. Interesting article. I’d opine though that custom content and social web isn’t a radically different internet than say 10 years ago.

    It’s still a presentation oriented affair, just it has evolved. Custom content is a presentation method, as is to a certain extent providing social interaction. The web has moved however from a static means to a more dynamic, always updating approach.

    • Hey Bryan. Thanks so much for checking in. I’d agree that web and technology and communication are always changing, shifting, evolving – updating through more and more open-source platforms (WordPress, iPhone & Droid Apps, etc.) This has always been true, but technology now allows that rate of change and information flow to be so blazingly fast, it’s very difficult to keep up. I would say, however, that there has been a huge change in the way information is transmitted and presented – in large part to the success of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and YouTube. And these are all really just a few years old, in the sense that they were basically unknowns a couple years ago to the average guy on the street, and now they are ubiquitous household terms. Website design has changed to include much more a sense of “community,” utilizing social media feeds and encouraging comment threads and user forums. While many of these tools were available a decade ago, I literally think we have crossed into a new era of communication and new normative function for technology within the last 5 years. As the Church, I want to ride that wave – not just sit treading water waiting to see if these changes are “good” or not. Frankly, I think they just ARE – and we, the Church, have an opportunity to leverage these changes for the GOOD. Redesign static church websites. Make them interactive. Man a Facebook page – a Twitter feed. Be in the world (but not of it)! Post videos of our people and events online. Share photo albums. Encourage comments. Feedback. Interaction. Relationships. COMMUNITY!

      OK – getting off my soapbox. Thanks a ton for reading and commenting, brother. God bless!

  2. ya know, I’m finally getting a website for the band put together – I need to get a facebook page for my music – I got the twitter feed, and I can essentially junk the myspace page – and NOW I gotta worry about Ipad presentation?

    it’s getting expensive to be relevant to the web 2.0 when all I wanna do is sell albums 🙂

    • Russ – that’s the beauty of Flipbook. You just link to your site using Twitter, Facebook, whatev. People who use Flipbook on their iPads and have you on their friends list will see content from your site – formatted to look beautiful by Flipbook. Nothing more to buy. No extra work. It’s genius.

      Looking forward to your new site, dude. Make sure you include ample ways to solicit feedback from your followers. Message boards, comments, Twitter and Facebook feeds, etc. Good times. Good times.

      Bless you and your bride to be!

  3. Ok – this is all very interesting and makes me feel old. I remember when I went off to college with my TYPEWRITER. I also remember having a conversation with you about those new things called “cd’s”. Haha! I was bummed that all my cassettes would soon become obsolete and I’d have to start over buying cd’s. Good grief. I AM old.

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