I’ve always thought of myself as an early adopter, I have used irc, icq, msn, jabber, skype, ichat, AIM, yahoo for many years, I’m literate with web 2.0 applications, I’ve owned a mobile phone since, well, lets not go there and my blogging goes back to early 2001.
I used icq and msn in bible studies and youth ministry back in the 1990’s and the internet has played a major part of my ministry for many years. With that being said my income’s not been fabulous for most of that and so I’ve not relied heavily on having the newest gadgets, just that I knew how to use the ones that I had reasonably well.
So, Facebook becomes open to non-US residents I joined it, yes, I did need some encouragement to move from Myspace, but I kept a foot in both doors, using both MySpace and Facebook for networking.
Yet, when I look back on it all I think it was an interesting experiment, but one that needs to end, I’m busy deleting my Facebook account, and MySpace shall follow suit pretty soon.
Thanks for asking, in the coming week I’ll be exploring the “why” question a little bit more, and in doing so may have a few questions for us old folk in youth ministry to ask ourselves and the young people that we minister with and the culture within we live.
One of the issues I’m beginning to work through is the idea of “early adoption” some people wear the badge on their sleeve, the newest gadget or networking site or “thing” comes out or is made available and they jump on it instantly.
In the case of the iphone a lot of people jumped on it instantly, no questions as to it’s usefulness, (the earliest model was lacking a LOT of features yet people lined up for days). Early adopters were not really the people who wanted to test the item out, or to explore it’s uses, instead they were… well, everyone. Early adopters used to be far and few between, items needed to prove themselves, programs needed to be tested by people, ideas needed to be road tested before others would put them on their “must have” list, early adopters were needed to test things out, now everyone is an early adopter.
This may be a generational thing, we used to be a little less convinced that the latest product would be better than the last one out, horse and carriage sales were the highest at the time that the motor car was built, early adopters were needed to test things out.
In my case, I was one of the few people I knew who were willing to test out the use of the internet in ministry around where I lived, when I did it I tested things out, tried a few chat clients, tried out a few networking platforms, explored a few different website ideas. In my ministry at the time the young people I was working with were not regional, so it was a great way to explore how pastoral care could be used in these ways.
But now-days Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and blogging has been adopted by many people, not (just) the few wanting to figure things out, but everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, some with a little more thought as to how it may connect with their lives and ministry and many without much thought at all.
Facebook for example is used by many of my peers and friends, yet when I think about it I don’t think it’s been that beneficial, some will disagree with me, but I’ve been asking a number of questions about social networking sites recently, and I want to unpack that a little more here in the next few days.
I entered Facebook with the idea of testing things out and thinking about how to use it in a more networking way, I set up a couple of work related groups, one of which had about 80 people on it fairly instantly, but after that it died, it still has a number of people on it, but no-one communicates on it, it seems that the group is something people belong to, but they don’t interact with it at all.
I think that many jumped onto Facebook thinking that it’ll help then realised that they don’t really;
a) know how to use it properly
b) have the time to use it properly
c) there are better ways to network
Anyhow, I’ll go into this a little later (maybe)
For now I’m wondering what happens when everyone becomes early adopters, do we then need people to be early skeptics, people who will step back a little and not buy the iphone for a year, not join Facebook for a while, not buy the latest computer or software or product or toy or car when it’s released.
What happens when everyone is an early adopter?