Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Hey there, IC2643-ers!

Mary ruminated on the concept of neighbor this week while she set the table, and this idea of neighbor has been rolling around the back of my head with the rest of the marbles during this week. As such, I wanted to bring this into the conversation this week while reflecting on Michael Wesch's video and my renewed blogging experience

(This is Michael Wesch's Video An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube if you're interested. Be warned, it is long, but it is both informative and HILARIOUS at times!)

We often talk about "love your neighbor... care for your neighbor... be a good neighbor... won't you be my neighbor?" in the church, and I often brush it to the side when we talk about who my neighbor is and wander off into la-la land thinking about why my neighbor is. Or more helpfully put, why are these my neighbors, and why are we so focused on "these" neighbors? Sometimes it's a specific audience we're trying to reach, to assist, to be aware of, but Michael Wesch makes a point in his video that at least on YouTube (but also true of other online medium) we are working with an invisible audience, unknown context, and an asynchronous timeline, making my audience--my neighbor--everyone

I'm one of those strange people who is hyper aware of audience. From a performance, forensics/speech, congregational stand point, there is a HUGE part of what I do on a regular basis that depends upon my ability to not only read an audience, but conform and comply with their norms, mores, and expectations. Here though, in blogging and on social media, I feel less constrained by those requirements of my audience because I'm not faced with them! Of course, this leads to its own dilemmas: writing with no point, context collapse, and personal disinterest. I include that last little piece about personal disinterest because the very point of all of this media stuff is that we make a connection. Community. 

This realization in turn lead me to the dilemma I faced beginning this course: do I use my personal blog, or do I create something wholly new? Obviously, my decision has been to use my personal blog, with the intent that there be connections. Not necessarily my own, of course, but that maybe what goes on in my personal blogging may be influenced by IC2643 blogging, and vice versa, or that readers of my personal blog may be drawn into this conversation about Gospel and Global Media Culture, and the other way around. So I'm asking myself in regards to audience, just like my classmate comments from Mary's setting the table, do I need to move? Do I need to shift my thinking to another audience, another neighbor?

Let me tell you a little story first before I reveal how I'm answering that question. I remember when I first joined Facebook, at the beginning of my undergraduate career, and would spend time regularly finding new friends, whether they were people I had class with, I knew from school or church, etc. But I would be astounded by the mutual friends that we sometimes had. What a change from real life! Unless these two people would show up at the same gathering, or come up in a distinct conversation, you may not be aware that you know the same people. So here in lies my hope at the beginning of this, and maybe underlying in most of what we do on social media; May we meet people here, may our thoughts be broadened by this whole conversation, and may we enjoy the link-surfing of media life because we never know if we are Six Degrees from Kevin Bacon!

1 comment:

  1. Some times I think the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon are the cultural context collapse that is happening. I've started to see this a lot not only on FB like you noticed but also in the lives of pastors that I know and who they know that I too know but from very different locals. My supervisory pastor knows the rear admiral that married my husband and I 21 years ago. The current interim minister at my home congregation knows one of my DL cohort classmates across the country. With global media it's amazing how we are all interconnected.