Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

What’s a Social Networker to Do When the Twitter Bird Stops Singing?

Silent BirdYou don’t have to be a Tweeter to know that Twitter experienced a cyberspace attack today, for it seems every major news source had a story on it today – New York Times, LA Times, CNN… With the Tweeter Bird unable to sing, it made it extremely difficult for social networkers (myself included) to send out any tweets, and for part of the day, the tweeter bird was silenced completely.

In fact, the number one trending topic for the day was #whentwitterwasdown. The tweets involved in this trend give us a sense of what social networkers do when the twitter bird stops a singing. Here are some of the tweets that popped up after twitter started to recover, see if these responses give you a window into the life of social networkers.

Quiet bird“L122AYluvsMU51C #whentwitterwasdown I was so frustrated that I threw my BlackBerry out the window.”

“iTeddyx3 #whentwitterwasdown I nearly had a heart attack.”

“LukeLum #whentwitterwasdown I wrote a blog about how sad my life has become, bcos I was frustrated Twitter and facebook weren’t working…”

“jesscyn #whentwitterwasdown I posted on FB: “Twitter is DOWN, Facebook is SLOW, the world as we know it is ENDING.”

“Missing_Screw #whentwitterwasdown I couldn’t twitter it!”

For me, I tried unsuccessfully to tweet: “dreamawakener #whentwitterwasdown I experienced rest from social networking, which worked well, cause it happened on the day I practice sabbath.”

Of course some people are being quite humorous with their comments, but it seems that for millions of people today, twitter and facebook have become such a part of our lives that it disrupts our equilibrium when we can no longer connect this way with our friends, or in our business relationships. Maybe I was less disturbed because I knew I could still blog. lol.

It not only seems 2 disturb R equilibrium & sense of connection, but ive got 2 think that if I was a teacher ths days that twttr has probly effected how ppl write. I cn imagine that a number of papers contain sum kind of shorthand that has 2 B interpreted. I mean how is a teacher 2 grade ths kind of papers. Will R dictionaries look a bit difft in the years 2 come b/c of twttr?

Loud BirdSome people today are asking, What is Social Networking Doing to Our Brains? (and our ability to engage in human friendship?) and warning people of the dangers of social networking and calling people to more flesh and blood relationships. Others, like this former Neuroscientist, agrees that social networking will shape our brains, but sees it in a positive way. Which ever perspective you lean toward, it is true that the different forms of media shape us more than we know in very hidden ways.

As Marshal McLuhan, the father of studies on media has said, “societies have always been shaped more by the nature of media by which men [sic] communicate than by the content of the communication.” McLuhan is the one who coined the phrase, “the medium is the message” and contends we are blind to many ways the various mediums shape us. McLuhan in book The Medium is the Massage shares in a very profound way how different forms of media have significantly shaped humankind; for example print media caused humans to become more detached and more logical, and the electric media caused people to become more involved and participatory in the whole of humankind.

Rex Miller, in his book The Millennium Matrix, also acknowledges the life-shaping power of the medium. After twenty-five years of researching social change throughout history, Miller found that the best way to organize the major societal shifts over time was by considering the dominant medium of the age. Miller stated, “The Millennium Matrix builds on the premise that when the primary means of storing and distributing information changes, our worldview changes. Here’s how this works. When our means of storing and distributing information change, our perceptions change. Changed perceptions create changed understandings and even changed psychology. Changed identity affects relationships. Changed relationships affect the traditions and institutions that support those relationships. These changes eventually reach a cultural critical mass, igniting a battle between old and new worldviews. Communication is the medium for relationship, community, and culture; so a more efficient or powerful tool of communication results in their restructuring.” I could go on, but if you have an interest in this, I have a whole paper you could read on this topic entitled, The Medium and Mission, so check it out.

Twitter Follow Me BirdSo if you are a tweeter, what did you feel like when you couldn’t tweet yesterday? Let me know. You could leave a response here or direct tweet me. If you are not a tweeter yet, U could get an account and start to follow some of your friends to see how they use this medium. You can also follow me if you want. Cause I tend to tweet at least twice a day since this past September. It has become part of my lifestyle and in many ways is shaping my life. This post has gone on way to long, so I will have to share how it has personally impacted me at another time. After all, the length of this blog post is already over 800 words and when I tweet I can use any more than 140 characters.

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