Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Another view on the blogosphere

To communicate is to make oneself vulnerable; to communicate is to participate in humanity. The two are inseparable.

Not to communicate is to protect oneself from risk; not to communicate is to deny the value of humanity. These two are equivalent.

Most of us are called to be communicators: to share the word; to share the Word; to be relay stations on the Eternet so that the Blogos can be made known.

Hmmm. On reflection that was ghastly on so many levels. But maybe that’s the point too. So I choose not to unsay (delete) it. (How would you know what else I am not saying?)

Speaking as a priest in embryo, I believe that communication is one of the foundational challenges I will meet when I (trust that I will) become a priest in fact. And the heart of that challenge is expressed by this question:

How can I hear what those in my care want to say to God?

It’s true, too, that I will need to communicate with all sorts of people at all sorts of times – some published in the church calendar, others in the diary. I hope very much to become good enough at that, and I trust to the God who uses shattered cases to hold his greatest treasures to overcome both my confidences and my weaknesses and speak through me.

But that is the lesser challenge.

A blog is a dialogue. Always. Even if the only person who sees it is its author. And whatever it happens to be called: most aren’t called blogs, they often don’t have names but they are born, grow and die in places like bebo, facebook, faceparty, flickr, myspace, youtube. Wherever they are, these meeting places, they inhabit a dangerous space. By definition, and also in fact.

My own view is that virtually everyone in ministry should choose to participate in this zone of democratised communication, primarily because of the challenge I mentioned above. To hear people, go somewhere where people talk, and be willing to talk yourself. I hold this view very strongly indeed, and I would love to discuss it with you. Online, for preference.

A view I hold nearly as strongly is that those in training for ministry should become familiar with this zone too, so that it’s a natural step once on the ‘outside’ and separated from some of the support available in the learning environment.

Now, that was a whole lot of ‘I,’ wasn’t it?

It lacked evidence (I was tempted to include some of the intriguing information on the demographics of democratised communication, but decided it didn’t warrant the time ;) ).

It may have lacked objectivity (maybe I should have mentioned that I worked more often in this area than any other in my final year before coming here, so that you would have understood that my subjectivity is at least a highly socialised and debated subjectivity).

Most definitely, it did lack your input. Are you interested in engaging in discussion on this?

Jeremy

4 comments:

  1. Annette Hawkins21 Nov 2007, 19:13:00

    Hi Jeremy - love the blog! It might even inspire me to return to mine (Posh Hermit - haven't posted since April). I know I am biased but I think that this is the best blog in the blogoshere http://www.tobiwan.co.uk/labels/musings.php

    Seen any lucky gallstones lately?

    Love A

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  2. Thanks Annette :)

    Ah, I can see that's going to take a LOT of living down...

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  3. Communication is so often a blanket term. Good communicator / bad communicator, with nothing in between. In most situations where there are multiple people working together it is a decisive factor in making something successful.

    Having worked in teams for many years I think I know something about what makes communication work.......... It's about knowing what to communicate to who. Let me give you an example. I used to manage computer programmers. I could send the same a work spec to five different programmers and I would get five different results, REGARDLESS of how 'good' the communication is. The bottom line is that you have to match the message to the hearer. In blog world you just cannot do that, so you need to filter out as far as possible those elements that can be misunderstood. Particularly if they are sensitive in any way.

    The communication is good / bad thing just won't fly. Intelligent communication is the way.

    Chris

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  4. Hi Chris,

    You're making some valid points, although I notice they're primarily about communication as a one way street, whereas my interest is far more on hearing.

    A thought. If you used the word 'preach' instead of 'blog' (s/preach/blog/g -- is that it??) would your conclusions be the same? If not, why not? If yes, do any of the implied negatives take on a positive aspect?

    Time flies like an arrow.
    Fruit flies like a banana.

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It's great to get comments - a good way to encourage, challenge and help me! Thank you. Jeremy