How Social Media is Changing Communications


In this 16-minute presentation from TED, Clay Shirky, author of “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations” makes a compelling presentation on how social media has changed the way we communicate.

The landscape of information has changed dramatically. Today media is

  • global
  • social
  • ubiquitous
  • cheap

In a world of media the the former audience is now increasingly full participants, producers. In that world, media is less and less often about crafting a single message to be consumed by individuals and is more and more often a way of creating an environment for convening and supporting groups.


Open communication is messy and sometimes painful. What are the implications for churches, Christian organizations that face many critics?

  • Anonymous

    I'm not sure how to handle the criticism I would get if I allow comments on my blog. As the pastor of a large church, I'm not sure it's a good idea to open the door to every crazy person in the world who wants to come to my blog and harass me.

  • @Anonymous,
    Criticism/disagreements are not necessarily signs of failure. The social etiquette now calls for an honest exchange. It's not that you're going to have detractors in your social media groups, but how you address them and their concerns that becomes your measure of success.

  • Chris

    I work for a Christian Publishing house and our authors have complained about negative review of their books by readers. How should we handle that?

  • If you have a reasonable number of people who follow your Blog, they will address any negative comments and deal with the "nutbars" who flame you. (I heard that from a reliable source – the Author of this blog).It's true though. If you were to comment on this posting in an inappropriate way, I would probably jump in and defend the author as would other readers. The groundswell of support could silence the harassment.

  • @Chris, I agree with @Steveshantz (well, since he's quoting me anyway). If the negative feedback has any validity, i.e the book did not deliver what the title promised, than that gives the opportunity for those who are fans of the work and author to jump in and make their case for why they liked it. Interestingly there are much more positive comments on any given topic (with a few exceptions)than there are negatives. I believe that any discussion is good for sales–specially if you have a polarizing subject such as politics where both sides believe to be right and best. A well orchestrated fight could lead to the running best seller you hoped for.

  • @Chris, I agree with @Maurilio that any discussion is good for sales. I wonder how many copies of The Shack would have never sold were it not for the discussion about it? @Anonymous, you have detractors out there, whether you've given them the chance to say so on your blog or not. Those who will bash you will do so from their own blog or from someone else's. Giving them the chance on your blog also gives you the chance to be an example of Christ to them. And, as @Steve said, your followers will do some smack down on 'em…

  • @Maurilio, two stories of my own. 1. Way back in the 90's, I became part of an e-mail newsgroup for pastors. Suddenly, pastors were talking to each other and denominational officers lost influence immediately. I was amazed that so few of them joined the conversation, still preferring to issue the "one size fits all" message.2. Last week, I followed the Tour de France bicycle race through the media. My primary source of information about the race was Lance Armstrong himself, who is an inveterate Twitterer. Some dozen or so riders use Twitter, so we were listening to the participants not the commentators.Interestingly, Armstrong occasionally @ replies to critics who question him on Twitter. There is no such thing as a silent critic. There are only critics you choose not to hear. I believe leaders have to engage–join the conversation, not control it. If we have a valid message, it will be embraced by the network. If the network has a valid criticism, it will be heard whether we want it to or not.

  • @Lawrence,great insight. Thanks for contributing.

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