The Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow: There Is a "Me," and "I," and an "US" in "Social Media"

A few weeks ago, I posted Five Reasons Why I Engage in Social Media in the hopes of articulating what I believe many of us experience as we instinctively wander through our social media lives.  I also wanted to give a little background for why this pastor, father, etc gives this medium so much energy. And plus, I think it's a good idea to examine what one does certain things.

And so I have some more thoughts on the subjust. Shocking, I know.

One of the comments that seems to arise during almost every conversation about the usefulness or appropriateness of Social Media is the "Social Media is just narcissistic and self-promoting static." critique.  And I say, "yep" it certainly can be.  No argument from me.  But can't any interaction: face to face, email, phone calls, random conversation with a stranger be just as self-centered? Um . . . yes.

The thing is, social media like any other mechanism for gathering people together: church, rotary club or roller derby is simply a place where a bunch of individuals gather together to make up some kind of community.  Sure, that community can be made of up a bunch of people for whom the only reason they are there is to engage in bafoonary, sell something or build up egos.  But, isn't it just as likely that a community can built upon the idea that a group of individuals gathered together in the hopes that our collective stories, knit together, can be a community of deep meaning and transformation?  I think so, and that is what most of us strive to be: a group of individuals gathered together to be the best US that a group of ME's can be.

So yes, social media is about the individual: at our best nuanced, caring and genuine and at our worst just about me me me and only me.  And as in real life, those that cross that line will be called out, will figure out that others are not interested and/or will be changed themselves.  Face to face or 140 characters at time, we are still people trying to figure out how to be community.

But I do know that it is not all roses. Social Media does provide some different avenues for the interaction to happen, but to lift it up to, what I think can be idolatrous status in the world, does not give credit to the maturing way in which the world is interacting online.  I might also say that a continued posture of "social media is bad" gives a generation for whom cultural influence is waining some way to maintain authority no matter how hollow the critique rings.

No real "moral to the story" on this post other than to repeat again and again, social media is not something to control or master, but something to embrace and integrate in our lives so we can be the kind of community that I think, in my tradition, God wants us to be.

So since we are talking about ME . . . here is how I share the life of Bruce with others in the world to hopefully become a better us. Please feel free to follow, friend, like or otherwise join in on the conversations!

In order of what platforms I use most and how I primarily use them:

Twitter  - I use this the most, maybe 10-20 posts and replies a day. My profile pretty much sums my twitter conduct, "The voices in my head as they muse about faith, parenting, politics, social media, pop culture, san francisco and baseball. Don't say I didn't warn you." [Follow me at @breyeschow]

Facebook Page and Profile  - My second most active social media location is Facebook. From status updates to sharing links about faith, culture and the more exciting life of my children, I have two places where I interact: a Profile Page and "Fan" Page.  My profile page is where I "friend" folks, but unfortunately I have reached the 5,000 limit so, while I do some adding and "pruning" on occasion, unless we are real life friends, the best place to hang out with me is on my page.  [Friend Me] [Like my page].

Posterous -  I really like posterous as a blogging platform.  I use this service primarily for two things.  One, my family posts a picture each day as part of a Our Life in Pictures daily picture challenge and, B, I use Embracing the Gray as a middle ground between 140 characters of twitter and longer posts on my blogs.  I usually post every couple of days and they tend to be a little ranty, spur of the moment posts.  You can visit either of them and subscribe.  They are both also posted via my TWITTER and FaceBook page.

General Blog  - On, I publish longer posts that require a little more time to write and are less ranty than Embracing the Gray - though I reserve the right to be ranty on as the need may arise - I post here about once a week on topics ranging from parenting to pop culture to faith to technology. [Subscribe to]

SF Gate  - Over on my SF Gate Blog I try to post content that does not assume "insider" knowledge about religion, church life or a pre-existing relationship with me.  Most posts do get cross posted on my general blog.  The cool thing about this blog is that the readers and resulting comment threads are far less about my relationship with people and more about how people simple agree with me or think I am an idiot, very little in-between, but fun nonetheless. [Subscribe to BRC on SFGate]

And I have been known to frequent these places on occasion

So there you have it, a little more of my social media life and how I think we each fit into the communities that develop through it.  Look forward to seeing you around the interwebs.

[Taken with permission from the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow's blog. Originally posted Jan. 11, 2011]