Creating Culture in Social Networking

Social networking is created exactly for what is sounds like; being social with those in your circle of influence and outside of it. It opens the door to letting others into your life and sitting on the couch and people watching you as you detail every decision and idea you have, from dinner meals to deep philosophical thoughts on life and the drama in between. When we do this, regardless of the amount of information we choose to present, we create a culture whether we mean to or not. This culture opens the door for unpleasant or uncomfortable communication to happen.

Recently, a friend of mine was asked if she had gotten adoption of a grand-baby due to some extenuating circumstances. She responded by saying “Not to be discussed on FB.” When I read that, I thought to myself, brilliant. She gets it. She understands that some things are not to be aired out in a public venue where anyone can see her dirt. She’s creating a culture that defines perimeters and states that some things are not meant to be examined in a public forum.

Last night, I had a conversation with a mom as I was picking my child up at the babysitter. She was discussing the lack of professionalism Facebook has undertaken in building a mobile platform. Through this conversation, we discussed how we get a lot of our information through our “news” feed and when we don’t receive the amount of information we think we should, we feel abandoned from the up-to-date community.

I told her that I have created a culture that allows me not to be up-to-date. What I mean by this is my wife and I have found ourselves in many arguments because I’ll ask her about some information I had received on Facebook and she’d reply she hadn’t seen it. In turn, I would lash out for her not checking her Facebook through the day and she would return to me that her life doesn’t rely on her constantly being “fed” news from Facebook.

Also, have you ever received news from someone on Facebook and suddenly realized you’re angry because that was not the venue you saw fit to be updated by? My grandmother died recently and I found out on Facebook rather than receiving a personal phone call. At the funeral, all the cousins decided to create a Facebook page where all updates would occur. Phone calls would still be made but the culture we created is that if a phone call doesn’t make it or something seems like a rumor, all updates would be on this Facebook page.

We create our social networking culture. If Facebook or Twitter is the culture you receive information, then that’s where you will find out breaking news, not from a news site. If you choose to be more personal, and use phone calls, that’s the culture you create. In my family, we decided that the culture is not to assume all of our information comes from Facebook. It saves arguments from happening.

What is the culture you’re creating? In other words, how are you utilizing social networking sites? However that is, don’t expect it to be a different culture unless you change that culture but don’t be hurt when others don’t live in your culture. They create their own and sometimes, you sit on their couch and stare into their life and wonder why they feel the need for so much attention by showing their dirt to others. Some cultures survive and other fall. What will your culture do?


About Kevin Riner
child of grace, worshiper of Jesus, husband, father, Pastor of Village Church, author of Faith Debugged

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