Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’
Yorocko.com started in 2010 with a series of posts on Jeff Jarvis’ book What Would Google Do? Jarvis’s central assertion was that Google’s success derives from its decision to function as a platform rather than a portal, allowing developers to do their mapping and book publishing work on top of Google’s own infrastructure rather than creating its own mapping and book publishing software. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how this approach might be applied to the church.
Just this week I had a conversation with a nonprofit executive who’s interested in partnering with churches to start community farms. Churches would offer up their property as a literal platform on which a local organization can do good work. A good thing–even a gospel thing–gets going at the church, yet the church doesn’t develop and run it; it merely functions as a platform for others to do it. It’s pretty exciting.
It gets tricky, though. Ownership becomes a critical question, and fast. Consider the announcement yesterday that Facebook is developing an app to run on Google’s Android mobile operating system, an app that will completely take over the device, transforming it, effectively, into a Facebook device. It’s a blatant exploitation of an open platform.
If a church wants to function as a platform and invite committed communities to do their good work on top of the church’s own infrastructure (both physical and relational), this ownership question is going to surface. How do churches maintain ownership of the platform? Should they?
This one’s been killing me for a few days.
I love me some Douglas Rushkoff. From this documentary to this media primer, and from this comic to this economics text, Rushkoff’s stuff influences my thinking about our culture and the church’s relationship to it as much as anything I read or watch or listen to. It never fails.
Rushkoff addressed the SXSW interactive festival a couple of weeks ago. The above video contains clips from that talk. Watch the thing. Here are some money quotes, though:
“We are attempting to operate our society on obsolete code.”
“If you are not a programmer, you are one of the programmed. It’s that simple.”
“And now we get the computer. Do we get a nation of programmers? No, we get a nation of bloggers. We write in the box that Google gives us.”
“Text gave us Judaism. The printing press gave us protestantism. What does this one [the computer] give us?”
As for an answer? I can’t say for certain, but I’m a bit worried.
The early evidence suggests that this one gives churches Facebook pages, populated by comments like, “What should we use this Facebook page for?” This one gives churches online giving. This one gives churches websites that are either miserable because they don’t understand the web and so function as online marquees or stellar because they do understand the web and so can manipulate traffic through Search Engine Optimization.
Program or be programmed: that’s Rushkoff’s maxim. How do churches program? Somebody please tell me. I don’t have any positive answers or illustrations or examples.
Maybe start with the negative questions first: how do churches avoid being programmed by the technology? How do churches learn the biases of the media the culture is using? How do churches help people (inside the church and out) understand those biases as well?
I’ve toyed with the idea of a media literacy unit for the church youth. Rushkoff makes that notion suddenly feel urgent.