i don’t like talking about social media, and i am again.

A new friend and I are talking to a group of pastors about social media today. I had almost resolved never to do this again. I am not a social media expert. I do it “wrong”. And every time I am asked to teach people about it, I get frustrated.

Until today. Today my colleague gets to be the expert, the person who understands how organizations can use social media. I get to be the pastor, the philosopher, the one who can reflect on how an individual can interact with individuals, still in the context of talking about God.

I’m starting to look forward to the conversation. There are, for example, public/private corporate/individual tensions in social media that I seldom get to talk about when having to explain how to do social media.

I see them in the story of Sanballat sending Nehemiah an unsealed letter by servant-messenger. It’s a trap, that’s clear from the story. Sanballat wants people to read the message and put pressure on Nehemiah. The private letter sent in a way that invited public involvement reminds me of people who write notes on each other’s Facebook ‘walls’. The notes talk about the great time the friends will have at gatherings which other friends are not invited to. And in these messages, the opportunity for jealousy is offered.

We see the positive side of that public/private in Paul’s letter to Timothy in 67 AD. It’s a private letter that is read everyday by pastors and leaders and anyone reading their way through the Bible. It’s likely that Timothy shared the letter himself, as in the way we share great teachings (and LOL cats) on our Facebook pages. In fact, Paul told Timothy to share what he learned from Paul with others who would teach others. And because Timothy had learned by spending time interacting with Paul, this was an invitation to social learning, not just preaching.

I’ll let you know how our conversation goes.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.