A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Online Forum

 

A shift occurred this past week. It’s too early to tell what the long-term effects or significance of it will be, but my cheese has definitely moved—from my blog over to my Facebook profile.

Steve Knight's Facebook profileNow that Facebook has refashioned itself as an aggregator for all kinds of online content feeds, my profile there has become my lifestream—and, as such, my preferred place of residence on the Web. Sorry, blog, you’ve been replaced. Sort of*.

FriendFeed is probably the next biggest competitor in this new “lifestream” category of online social media. But the problem with FriendFeed is that I don’t actually have very many friends over there! All (or most anyway) of my friends are on Facebook. And I’ve discovered that they apparently read the News Feed on Facebook with far greater interest than my blog has ever gotten (well, except for my abortion post, that is).

Shift Happens
So earlier this week, when I tweeted a political comment, it automagically updated my Facebook status, and a flurry of comments began to pour in (39 comments, so far).

I have to confess, even though I fully embrace this new media technology and enthusiastically promote the use of it in my work of mission communication, I was still a little surprised to see how quickly (and energetically) people were responding and interacting—in response to two sentences I had posted. The conversation, which remained mostly civil and challenging (I think for those on both sides), was intoxicating.

So I’ve been posting a lot of things this week on Facebook—some via Twitter (which I’ve been doing for a while) and also directly on my profile—to see if the conversation continues, where it takes me, and who stays and who goes. So far I’ve gotten comments from current and past co-workers, from old friends (from 10 years ago and from 4th Grade!) and new online-only friends, from the U.S. and from elsewhere (Canada, New Zealand, even Nigeria!), from those who agree with me and from those who don’t.

Crossing the Line
It’s been an interesting experiment. One that I’m sure will continue, and one that I’m learning a lot from. For example, I posted a link to a CNN article about McCain campaign advisor Karl Rove, and included with it an anti-Rove rant complete with a derogatory name directed at Mr. Rove himself (as if he cares what I think—he’s not one of my Facebook friends). I realized a few minutes after posting it that I regretted the angry tone of it, so I deleted the item. Or at least, I thought I did.

John McCain and Karl RoveFacebook was kind enough to retain it in my list of posted items, and comments began to stream in—most pushing back on me for crossing the line. One friend even told me, “You’ve become a liberal kook, you know that, right?” Well, sure, thanks for letting me know.

The Rove Rant was out of the bag, so I deleted (for good this time) the original comment and re-posted the CNN link with a new comment: an apology for the vitriol I had spewed. Here’s part of what I wrote: “I believe in transparency on the Web, and this is the downside of that transparency, perhaps.”

Perhaps. Because, although I regretted posting what I did about Rove, I was (and am) grateful for the opportunity for online friends to hold me accountable, challenge me on my political positions and religious beliefs, and interact with me on the topics and issues I find intriguing and important. That is not “the downside.” That is a very definite “upside.” And Facebook is facilitating the conversation better and bigger than my blog or other online forums for interaction have done to date.

 


*I plan to continue posting original content, such as longer-form articles like this one, via my blog, but, for a more steady stream of shorter-form comments/observations/links from me (and the lively conversation that accompanies them), be my friend on Facebook.

 

 

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Posted on 09-13-2008

Comments

  1. IndyChristian says:

    September 14th, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Outstanding insight — thanks for your transparency, Steve.

  2. Ellen5e says:

    September 14th, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    I agree. Flickr and FaceBook are 2 of the ways that I keep connected and learn more about others and even myself through the very issue of accountability you addressed as well as the benefit of increased wisdom that comes from good advise from my new diverse friends. Your post here is one of those good insights, thank you.

  3. Fernando’s Desk » Some Changes, Some Endings And The Whole Blogging Question says:

    September 15th, 2008 at 9:11 am

    […] are considering anew what to do with their online presence. Just this week Steve Knight noted that he is becoming more engaged with Facebook, than with his blog. Steve is not abandoning the blogging platform, but noting the way his […]

  4. Jeff says:

    September 23rd, 2008 at 8:12 am

    I could point out the incredibly sinister “associations” and “advisors” of Senator Obama, but there would be no point. Blind faith is just that – blind.

  5. Steve K. says:

    September 23rd, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Jeff, no need to point out all of them. Why not try sharing one or two “incredibly sinister associations”? Otherwise you are expecting people to put blind faith in you and your insinuation, which seems hypocritical and unhelpful.

  6. Jeff says:

    September 23rd, 2008 at 8:45 am

    Okay, here’s one…

    I’d like to see somebody explain away how Barack could – for 20 years – be “mentored” by a radical racist named Jeremiah Wright, yet claim he himself is not racist. And I’d like to know why it is that Barack only withdrew his membership from that church when it became politically expedient to do so. In other words, why didn’t Barack have a problem with Jeremiah Wright BEFORE the American public began having a problem with Barack because of his association with Wright?

    Steve, would you be part of a church where the pastor was a proud member of the KKK? I know I wouldn’t!

  7. Steve K. says:

    September 23rd, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Jeff, black liberation theology is quite different than the white supremacist philosophy of the KKK. To compare the two is, in my opinion, a ridiculous suggestion. You need to read some James Cone “God of the Oppressed” to get a better grip on black liberation theology and where it’s coming from if you are going to seek to even begin to understand Jeremiah Wright and that movement. The fact that Obama was a part of that church — a pillar of community involvement and activism in the Chicago community even to this day — does not surprise me or scare me or think worse of him. But for people who want to remain willfully ignorant about the complex realities of race and racism in our country, then that’s your prerogative, I suppose.

    As a sidenote, a recent poll suggests 1/3 of white Democrats hold personal prejudice against blacks. So it’s not like this is a partisan issue. I am just as concerned (if not more concerned) about Democrats withholding their votes for Obama based on race as I am about Republicans and independents. Nick Kristof wrote in the NYTimes last week about the large percentage of Americans who still believe Obama “could be” a Muslim. This is staggering to me on many levels.

    Anyway, as far as I’m aware, Jeremiah Wright has never been an advisor to Obama’s campaign so that still leaves me wondering who these “incredibly sinister associations” are that you’ve accused Obama’s campaign of having. Remember: McCain has at least 13 top campaign advisors who are “former” (meaning: they quit their lobbyist jobs recently to work on McCain’s campaign) lobbyists for oil companies, Wall Street financial firms, and some of the world’s most brutal foreign dictators. Talk about “incredibly sinister.” Those are well chosen words — for McCain’s campaign.

  8. Jeff says:

    September 23rd, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Racism is racism Steve. Period. Let’s stop making excuses for it.

  9. Jeff says:

    September 23rd, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Steve, why are you labeling me as “willfully ignorant” here? Are you implying that, because I’m not an Obama fan, I’m ignorant and/or a racist? I’d strongly suggest that, before you say things like that, you know a little more about the person you’re making those accusations towards…

    Now, I noticed that you completely failed to explain away Obama’s choice to withdraw his membership from Jeremiah Wright’s church – and to do so ONLY after it became politically expedient to do so.

    If Barack had a problem with being part of a church where the pastor is openly racist, and is committed first and foremost to Africa, why did he not withdraw his membership earlier? This isn’t Black Liberation Theology, Steve. This is racism. Open, unabashed racism.

    On the other hand, if Barack is in full support of the mission and focus of his church, why did he withdraw his membership after it became politically expedient to do so? That sounds to me like a guy whose convictions are based primarily on public opinion polls. Either way, it shows Barack to be duplicitous and popularity driven. In other words, another Bill Clinton…

    6 months ago, I very much wanted to be able to fully support Obama. The symbolism alone – that of an educated, qualified black man as a legitimate candidate for the presidency – was inspiring. But then I started listening to what he was saying when the tele-prompter was turned off. I started researching his positions and opinions. I started looking at his public service record. I have to say, I would have picked Hillary of Barack a hundred times over.

    And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the issue of abortion, and the fact that Barack Obama is the single most aggressively pro-abortion presidential candidate to ever be on a major party ticket. He receives a 100% pro-abortion rating from both Planned Parenthood and NARAL. That alone should send chills up the spine of any Christian.

    People who don’t support Obama are NOT – as you say – willfully ignorant people and/or racists. It could just be that we’ve forced ourselves to look beyond race, charisma and ear-tickling sound-bytes.

  10. Jeff says:

    September 23rd, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Back to more sinister associations…

    How about Barack’s association with, and financial windfalls, from the CEOs & lobbyists of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Seems that Obama has received over $126,000 from those folks. Does the name Jim Johnson ring a bell? How about Franklin Raines? Are we to suppose that these Obama advisors did NOT pocket tens of millions of dollars, while Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac were bilking the public?

    It will be interesting to watch the indictments come, as more and more of the shenanigans of these Obama advisors are brought to justice. But, considering that nearly 90% of the mainstream media are registered Democrats, I doubt we’ll hear much about it on the news.

  11. Jeff says:

    September 25th, 2008 at 10:02 am

    I think it’s also important to note that it was Hillary Clinton’s campaign (not McCain’s) that made such a fuss over Obama’s close association with unrepentant terrorist, William Ayers.

    We could also talk about Antoin Rezko, convicted of 16 crimes involving mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and aiding and abetting bribery, who personally donated over $20,000 to Obama’s presidential campaign, and helped raise over $200,000 more. Obama also bought property from Rezko.

    Then there’s Rashid Khaladi – Obama’s good friend, left-wing radical and Obama political fund-raiser – who openly states that “Israel is a racist state bent on creating “an apartheid system.” Obama now says he disagrees with some of Khaladi’s opinions…

    Why does Obama continue to have close ties with these radical individuals, then denounce their philosophies only when it becomes politically expedient to do so?

    Obama is not a man who would lead by principle, but by public opinion polls. And it is beginning to look more and more like he’s actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  12. Steve K. says:

    September 25th, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Jeff, looks like you’ve been Googling fast and furious — and it only took you a couple days to come up with Ayers, Rezko, and Rashid Khaladi (never heard of him).

    Here’s my response:

    William Ayers — “Attempting to discredit Obama because of an association with unsavory people rather than with actual proof that Obama shares their views is an instance of a logical fallacy that philosophers call guilt-by-association.”
    http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/corsis_dull_hatchet.html

    Tony Rezko — “Obama did have a past relationship with real estate developer Tony Rezko, but he is no longer Obama’s ‘money man.’ Obama hasn’t been associated with him since his indictment for wire fraud, bribery, money laundering and attempted extortion, and Obama donated all of the disgraced businessman’s previous campaign contributions to charity.”
    http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/guilt_and_associations.html

    Rashid Khaladi — The only information I could find on this guy and his supposed connections to Obama are all from right-wing smear blogs. There isn’t even a Wikipedia entry on Khaladi! So, ummm, this looks to me like a total smear campaign with absolutely no basis in reality.

  13. Jeff says:

    September 25th, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Steve, I’d STRONGLY suggest you do a little more research about factcheck.org before you use it as your source of authority. You might as well be citing MoveOn.org as well. 🙂

    But again… Isn’t it interesting that Obama distances himself from these dirtballs only AFTER it becomes politically expedient to do so?

    And what about Jim Johnson and Franklin Raines? Are you still trying to summarily dismiss their hand-in-hand association with Obama?

  14. dan says:

    October 3rd, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    politics, shmalitics

    radio, shmadio.

    i’m not on facebook, so i’m out of your loop now. nonetheless, i’m still here; with an identity and email address for any response.

    please tell me, how many kingdoms has our Saviour asked us to “fight” for?

    i support a different american political agenda than the one you so completely connected yourself to this year.

    truth be told, on the “right” side of the american political spectrum, republicans are hopefully learning that the GOP isn’t “God’s Own Party”.

    do you know that no human party is God’s big party?

  15. Steve K. says:

    October 3rd, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    hey Dan, I still value your friendship and feedback — even though you’re not on Facebook. You know your wife and I are friends on Facebook, though, right? 😉

    I’d love to hear about your “different american political agenda” sometime. Or what you think the one is that I’ve “completely connected” myself to. Because I agree that no political party is “God’s own party.” I’m just planning to vote for a Democrat this year. That doesn’t make me a Democrat, IMO. I’m actually registered independent, and that’s what I intend to remain.

  16. dan says:

    October 8th, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    my american political agenda is not represented by a politician; but you apparently are represented by a candidate this year. my point was more about kingdoms than american political agendas. as Christ followers, you and i both have a roll to play in elections. i have (personally) found it to be useless to tie my american political agenda into the gospel of the Kingdom.

    p.s. i wasn’t ripping on facebook, i was ripping on myself and hoping to represent folks like me who don’t jump in very fast.

  17. knightopia 3.0 | knightopia.com | lifestreaming kingdom journalist Steve Knight says:

    November 15th, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    […] The real revolution is the Social Media revolution—the rise of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, as well as the “socialization” of just about every other form of […]

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