THIS POST IS AN ANNOUNCEMENT of changes to my blog and a new direction for the season ahead. Here’s the plan:
(1) SERMONS — I now will be posting all of my recent messages under the “Teaching” tab above. You can always find my latest audio and video teaching and preaching content from now on at < jskogerboe.com/sermons >
(2) WRITING — I miss it. I am ready to reengage my blog again, as time permits and as inspiration and the Spirit so move. Thank to my friends for the encouragement.
(3) BLOG LAYOUT — In order to de-clutter my written thoughts from my spoken ones, I am going to experiment here with keeping them somewhat separate from one another. Therefore, my preaching posts won’t show up on my homepage. Only my blog posts will be found there. Likewise, under the “Teaching” tab (or at jskogerboe.com/sermons) you will only find my stream of recent messages.
It is a work in progress. Take a look around, kick the tires. I love hearing from you friends. Let’s reconnect this community.
It’s that time again. Once in awhile it is healthy to take a break. Because I’m an active technology user, I need to step away once in awhile to remind myself that I use technology with a purpose, or it will use me.
This weekend is the unofficial (but recognized) kick-off to summer, and our family is heading up North for a little vacation. We have often taken JUNE off from television/technology in the last few years. I’m going to follow that tradition this year, too.
Also, for those of you who know me best, you have seen how much of my life has been wrapped up in late nights and early mornings studying. My family has not seen much of me these last nine months, and I haven’t seen enough of them, either. I’ve got a few more assignments to wrap up before next Friday, and then I’m deeply looking forward to going on more dates, playing catch and reading with my kids, and basically being present with and for them.
I’m overdue for a tech Sabbath. It seems like the time is right. I’m not done blogging or tweeting or Facebooking altogether (unless the Lord so leads), but for now, I’m getting off the train. Catch up with y’all later this summer! God bless.
I lie to my kids. I do it for fun. It’s cheap entertainment.
Tonight’s episode was a personal triumph.
Amy and Seth and I helped lead worship for a Living Hope Church retreat last night and all day today. By the time I got home, I laid down for a 10 minute snooze that turned into a two hour plunge into REM state. I was exhausted, and I needed the rest. Amy and I agreed that tonight was one of those rare times when we were HUNGRY for real food and lacked ANY DESIRE whatsoever to cook.
So I loaded up the boys in the van to pick them up some tasty 99 cent chicken nuggets and sandwiches from Wendy’s (don’t judge me), and proceeded to pull out my cell phone to call the a local steakhouse to order a tasty rib-eye for Amy and myself (don’t judge me… you’ve done this, too… you know you have. Or if you hadn’t thought of it before, you’re now doing a silent fist-pump of thanksgiving, and you will commit a similar act of culinary inequity soon. You know you will.)
“Who ya calling dad?”
In a moment of brilliance, the idea simultaneously was birthed in my brain and came out my face in a smooth flow, with that perfect blend of assurance and non-chalance that is needed to convince a van load of rowdy boys that the bologna you are selling them is trustworthy. In a flash, a new hi-tech food delivery enterprise was born. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: 1-800-GET-BEEF.
Me: “They’ve got this network set up across the country… They’re everywhere. They guarantee a fresh, grilled-to-order steak, ready for pickup within three miles of your current location anywhere in the Continental United States – cooked and ready to go in 12 minutes.”
Boys: (pause) “Really?”
Boys: (longer pause) “That’s AWESOME!”
Yes it is. It is SO awesome. Who doesn’t want a freshly grilled steak available at a moment’s notice? Unless you’re vegan, this idea is pure grade-A awesome sauce with a side of extra tasty goodness. Of course it is patently absurd, and logistically impossible, but let’s not let reality tamper with my sweet moment of victory…
Boys: “Wait… Dad? How do they know where to send it?”
Me: “Uh… GPS. They track your cell phone call and send your steak to the nearest drop point. It’s pretty cool, really.”
Boys: (pause) “AWESOME!”
Dude. They are buying this. I’m a horrible father. And yet… I’m enjoying myself immensely. No need to wrestle with those lingering pangs of conscience. That would just bring me down, man. Let me savor this sweet sweet tangled web of lies.
As I pulled into the into the busy parking lot of a local supper club, the boys pause their ruckus in the back of the van to ask, “What are we doing here?”
Me: “Oh… this is the local drop point for this area for 1-800-GET-BEEF. They’re all over the place. It should be ready by now.”
In amazement they watched me return to the van with a freshly grilled steak, Medium, baked potato, and side salad. As the smell of the hot, savory rib-eye filled the van on the ride home, I got to enjoy my two eldest sons discussing ways to beat the system. After all, if 1-800-GET-BEEF “guarantees” local delivery within 12 minutes, there must be some way to finagle some free steak…
“We should, like, go hiking in the mountains, and once we’re WAY up the trail, call 1-800-GET-BEEF. Yeah. There’s NO WAY they’ll make it to us in 12 minutes…”
While I can’t argue that logic, I fail to see how this plan would actually work in the real world. Are you going to hike cross country to pick up your steak at the nearest drop zone? Three miles is a long trek through the brush on a mountainside, after all. And wouldn’t it cost you more than the price of the steak itself to equip yourself at the local REI in backpacking gear? They clearly haven’t thought this plan through.
As Amy and I sat at our table tonight, savoring a delicious meal which we did not cook, I smiled to myself with each bite. Sure, I lie to my kids. It’s just rare that they all fall for it in one fell swoop. Or in this case, medium…
It can surprise, and make you feel, and reflect beauty, and shout about God’s genius.
My good friend Mark Edwards (aka Original Mark Edwards aka OME) is releasing his new album (“Tired Birds”) this Friday, January 14, here in the Twin Cities. See details above. If you want to know more about (OME), click here. Get “Tired Birds” on iTunes here. If you want advanced tickets to the Friday night CD release party, click here.
I’ve been using RockMelt, a brand new social-media infused browser this past week, and I love it.
RockMelt is fast, like Chrome (built using the open-source Chromium platform from Google), and looks similar in many ways. But it’s injected with awesome sauce, like social media rocket fuel for the attention deficit disorder crowd. Of course, as with all things tech, the interwebs are already glutted with elitist opinions being spouted with zealous contempt for those on the other side. RockMelt is building a base of enthusiastic new users whose main evidence for it’s sheer awesomeness is that they are using it… and loving it. On the other side are vocal critics who lambaste the new browser as nothing new… or a major step backwards.
I say, if you like it… good times. I don’t think it is revolutionary… it simply leans on FaceBook’s infrastructure and allows you to connect other media sites (ala Twitter, Picasa, Vimeo, Posterous, Tumblr, etc., etc…) right into your browsing experience. But it certainly seems like a logical and well designed method of “synthethizing” your on-line presence and connections while you browse.
NOTE: If you’re not that interested in social media, this browser won’t appeal to you. On the other hand, if you’re reading this right now, you most likely found it through my FaceBook, Twitter, or Tumblr connections… so you may be the target audience. You may also prefer to do one thing at a time. This browser is built for the ADD afflicted, the multi-taskers, and the relationally-wired web set. Like I said… I am LOVING it.
You can use RockMelt by invitationright now. I’ve got a handful of invites to distribute. If we are connected on FaceBook, leave a commentif you want to give it a shot, and I’ll hook you up!
Yesterday I registered a new domain. Once I get all the kinks and links worked out, I’ll formally unveil jskogerboe-connected.com to the world. If you stumbled onto this post, consider this a sneak preview. As of yesterday afternoon, I’m a part of the Tumblr community.
So why Tumblr? Some of you are probably asking… what IS Tumblr in the first place?
Tumblr is a microblogging platform that allows users to post text, images, videos, links, quotes and audio to their tumblelog, a short-form blog. Users can then follow other users, similar to Twitter, or choose to make their tumblelog private.
Up until now I have also been using Posterous for the purpose of simple post microblogging up until this point, and I will continue to do so. For me, Posterous has been a FANTASTIC and easy platform for uploading life-in-real-time photos, videos, and small batch photo albums from an event, for example. I have also used it when I need a place to post something that just doesn’t seem to fit on Twitter, Facebook, or this blog. But it’s ease of use (universal, multi-platform posting through email) is genius. I’m not leaving Posterous behind. In fact, I just gave my Posterous site a facelift. You can take a peek here if you’re curious.
So why add another layer to my on-line life right now? A few quick reasons:
(1) Tumblr has a lot of momentum right now. They are one of the fastest growing sites on the web, and they have a fiercely loyal user community. I want to surf ahead of the oncoming technology wave, and building connections through Tumblr seems to be a smart move.
(2) Two words: easy and free. Like the best of the web 2.0 world, Tumblr is FREE, and getting signed up is a cake walk.
(3) Tumblr’s reblogging function. With a buton click it is easy-peasy to “re-blog” someone else’s post into your blog stream… where it can be re-blogged again by your followers, etc. Tumblr provides an easy format for sharing info – which is what on-line social media is all about – and their community has proven to be generous and loyal with the link love. If I want to share thoughts and ideas with a broader audience, Tumblr seems like a GREAT platform. And I’ll undoubtedly build new connections along the way. Win – win.
(4) I often have conversations with people asking how I keep all this tech stuff straight, and why I have multiple sites for different content, and how it all works together. I’m going to post a new blog article soon simply laying out my web-life strategy for the curious. But right now, without a chart and visual aids and a cup of coffee and half an hour, all this online stuff can blur together into a complicated mess. I’ve been looking for a way to aggregate my online content, fromTwitter and Facebook, videos, photos, audio, quick thoughts and longer conversations, blog posts and all in ONE location. Simple. Clean. I’m hoping to make jskogerboe :: connected that place.
Tumblr is providing me another link in the chain right now – I think it will be a solution for the simplification problem I’ve been trying to solve. Over the next few days I will be continuing to expiriment. To see if I can make all my online content upload to my Tumblr site. Actually… truth be told… this very post is a bit of an expeiriment. I want to see if it will link to Tumblr. I’ll keep tweaking until it’s working smoothly, and then I’ll do a more fanfare-laden unveiling.
In the mean time, I’m pretty excited about this. And if any of you are Tumblr users, I’d be honored to have youfollow me. I’m a Tumblr rookie, so advice is welcome, too.
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.
I bet she wishes she could get a do-over. Not so much. As of yesterday afternoon, CNN Middle East news correspondant Octavia Nasr is out of a job because of one tweet. In a moment she now says she deeply regrets, Ms. Nasr expressed her respect for the recently deceased Hezbollah leader (and terrorist) Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah. Apparently, the masses were paying attention, and they were not impressed. Octavia Nasr and CNN were deluged with angry feedback questioning her judgement. In the end, less than 140 characters brought down her career.
I’m not focused on the politics of this story. What arrested me was the fact that this woman actually lost her job because of a moment of transparency online. Oops. The moral of the story? Tweeting life can be dangerous. It requires a careful blend of honesty and discernment, but done well, I believe it is tightrope worth walking.
I’m continually amazed at what is possible with smart-phones today. Instant connection. Moment by moment play by play, complete with GPS tagging, TwitPics, and streaming video. I’ve even programmed my phone to sing me to sleep at night and cook me breakfast in the morning. Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, and all of the world’s newspaper headlines are available right now – wherever I am. A complete interactive community of “friends” and “followers” ever-present to connect with and stroke my ego. It’s amazing, and seductive, and powerful, and dangerous.
The new world – plugged in, social media fueled, web 2.0, YouTwitFace world – allows us to live our story transparently. We can post a stream of details. Where we are, what we’re doing, and what has captured our interest in the moment. We can share resources and encouragement, or cut people and their ideas down. We can refine our thinking, and we can fritter hours away with an unlimited flow of distraction-on-demand.
Healthy life-streaming requires healthy boundaries. There are amazing opportunities and overwhelming advantages to tweeting life in real time. And there are distict and profound dangers. Just ask Octavia Nasr.
And the problem is, once a post or tweet has gone public, it’s a living piece of history that can NEVER be put back in the bottle. Everything we post – EVERYTHING – is available. It’s searchable. It’s eternal.
“Don’t you dare put that on Facebook.” This is a phrase that is ALWAYS welcome in our house. And while I almost always follow it up with an enthusiastic, “OF COURSE I wouldn’t post THAT” following one of our family squabbles or a particularly embarrassing child-rearing incident, I make it clear that setting boundaries out loud is welcome. Boundaries do not restrict – they give freedom. Like a fenced-in back yard for the kids to play in, boundaries define the “safe area” where there is room to play. Thankfully, Amy lets me know what is safe, and what is out of bounds.
So I tweet life with this in mind: I want to live a good story. And good stories are fraught with conflict and growing and pain and triumph. I am a child of the One King, and He’s put me here to enjoy His company and tell the world about His sovereignty and His grace. If our family is willing to hear His voice and GO when He calls us, life will be a faith adventure. If we can live out a great story, and do it transparently with joy, I hope it can encourage others to trust Jesus, too.
But it must also be true. Land mines. I want to share my REAL life. Danger. I am acutely aware every time I hit “send” that this could (and probably will) be seen by many sets of eyes, and it could live on (and on… and on…) for years. So I walk the tightrope of living transparently while protecting the privacy of my friends and family.
At the end of the day, I want to reflect a life lived well. Healthy faith, thriving family, and joyful service to my God and the people I rub shoulders with. I want the people in my life to get in on my thoughts – to be a real community – and to refine and enjoy each other in the process. But I won’t tell you everything. I can’t be a totally open book. I saw the land mine Octavia Nasr stepped on. I know what Amy is OK with and where she has staked out the “do not cross” barrier. And if you step out onto the YouTwitFace technological tightrope with me, remember that every step – every post – every tweet – every status update – will be permanent. You can’t take it back. It’s a living part of history.