A Simple Look at a Not-So-Simple Life

Friday Five: Internet Connections

Jan (different Jan, but doesn’t she have a cool name?!) wrote over at RevGalBlogPals:

From Studio North blog

I have vaguely been hearing about the coming trend of people using mobile internet devices rather than desktop computers. Having four adult children, I see them using cell phones, laptops, tablets, ipods/iphones/ipads instead of the desktop computer, which I am using right now.

So I am asking you to answer the following questions about whatever device you most often use these days, first by telling us what you have:

1. Do you use social connections, like Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in or whatever else there is? Describe how you use it/these.

My social networks of choice are Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. (I tried Google+, but it never seemed to catch on.) Facebook is my tool to keep up with friends, acquaintances, and colleagues – both old and new. Twitter is my window into the world. I follow people from all over, from all walks of life, and with all kinds of different interests. I find great resources and ideas from listening to what people have to say. Pinterest is still a work in progress for me. It’s great for sparking creative ideas, but I haven’t quite figured out how to most effectively use it. It is a great tool if you’re ever bored. I tend to be a gatherer (i.e. lurker) on Twitter and Pinterest, although I am beginning to make some efforts to add to the conversations I find there.

2. Do you text on your cell phone? Work, friends, family?

I text more than I actually talk. I use text messages not just with friends and family, but also with work. I do have some friends and family members who detest texting, so real conversation hasn’t totally faded from my life.

3. Do you play any games? Which ones?

I don’t play games often. Once upon a time I got sucked into a few of the games on Facebook, but when I started having thoughts during meetings about how I needed to harvest my crops before they died, I realized I had a problem and quit cold turkey. The only game I have installed on my phone is Mahjong. I find that to be a good stress reliever every now and then.

4. How do you predominantly use the various electronic devices you possess?,

My smartphone is my lifeline (and sometimes my time-suck). I use it not just for communication (talk, text, and email), but also for reading (news, blogs, occasionally a Kindle book if I’ve left my Kindle behind), social networking (see above), organization (notes, calendar, task lists), and research (Google and Google Maps at my fingertips). On rare occasions, I will write using apps on my phone. I do not recommend that except under dire circumstances. My laptop is my traveling office and my writing companion. I dream wistfully about one day having a tablet of some sort. I’d love to figure out how it would enhance life!

5. How do you feel about blogging? Are you as involved in blogging as when you first started? What facilitates your blogging?

I love blogging. My blogging life has had its ebbs and flows, but it is one of my favorite forms of self-expression. Things have changed drastically since my first days of blogging. I am much more careful about what I write, especially as it might relate to my work. Blogging helps me clarify my thoughts and opinions. It makes me work to find ways to clearly express myself. It is a tool of humility when I throw something out there that is only half thought-through, especially when I receive feedback that lets me know I need to think a little deeper. It has helped me build confidence as a writer. Reading the blogs of others also widens my world – both in understanding my world and in building relationships with people I otherwise may never meet.

Bonus: Anything you want to add. You might like to discuss what helps you most in your vocation with internet connections.

For people who think that social media is detrimental to ministry practices, I would encourage them to think again. I have been able to build relationships through seemingly casual contacts on Facebook. Facebook is where you often find out what is really happening in people’s lives, things they often wouldn’t get around to telling you at church. Twitter is an excellent way to spread information and quotes/verses/words of encouragement. People who might ignore a phone call and would be mortified at a drop-in visit will often respond immediately to a text message. Passing along information or asking a quick question, especially with church leaders, can be done by text in a matter of seconds, where a phone call might end up taking 20 minutes. Yes, face-to-face and/or voice-to-voice contact is still of utmost importance, but social media can be a wonderful tool for ministry.


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15 thoughts on “Friday Five: Internet Connections

  1. Jan, you are really eloquent about the uses of internet in all forms! I never thought that people would seriously read books/articles on a smartphone (or ipod), with such a small screen! Sometimes my aging eyes eliminate possibilities for me. I appreciate your enthusiasm and active use of social media; the window on ministry using it.

    I am also really glad you still actively blog. I’ll have to visit you more often.

    • Thanks for dropping by! I don’t read books too often on my phone, but on my Kindle app it’s really not too bad. You just have to turn the page every few seconds!

  2. suntreeriver on said:

    lovely play, and I agree with you about real new relationship on FB, in addition to revitalized ones (for me and likely for everyone). Thanks for reminding me of Pinterest! I joined via FB a while ago and need to check in again. Peace!

    • I still need to get Pinterest figured out! Right now, it’s more like an online window-shopping experience – not necessarily productive, but lots of fun.

      • suntreeriver on said:

        Pinterest is kind of like dreamy window shopping, and I’ve found some wonderful home and room layouts I’d love to have some day. Not to mention the calorific recipes! I think one reason I haven’t been on the site for several weeks is you don’t have the kind of interactions you do on FB, or even on blogger.

      • Exactly! I know you can leave comments and such, but that hasn’t been my experience. I hear it’s a great place to market if you are a writer/artist/etc, but I’m not there. Yet. Maybe one day.

      • And is it some sort of requirement that any recipe listed on Pinterest must have a gazillion and twenty calories?!

  3. I appreciate your voice for social networking in ministry. I know I was much encouraged when I was working on my dissertation and my pastor (whom I did not yet know well) would comment or message me. It helped begin a connection.

    • The above should be signed –Wendy (I forget WordPress uses BookGirl instead). Hard to keep everything straight in this technological world of ours. –Wendy

    • I guess I am projecting some of my own preferences here, too. I am an introvert and like handling communication quietly and on my own terms. I can’t believe that once upon a time I thought that if the phone rang I HAD to answer it! I am so very guilty of screening calls now when I can. (Drives my mom nuts! Lol!) I’m glad to see that this approach was used by your pastor and was helpful for you.

  4. Now that I have a smart phone I find myself “checking” just because it is there. I was in a Subway yesterday for lunch…so as I was eating…I was checking to see if anything new happened.

    I too, was the person who could not let a phone ring and not answer it. Now, I screen all calls especially on my day off and I do not check work email either. So freeing. I am going to add a vacation response for texting that I can send back when I get those church texts while on vacation. I have an awesome clerk of session and she will only call me if the church burns down or there is a death…then I will call the family while on vacation.

    I really enjoy your writing.

    • Thanks, Purple! 🙂

      I find myself “checking” all the time too! So very convenient. I have to remind myself to put it away sometimes when with kids or friends. It can be a bit addicting.

  5. I do use my iPhone a lot, but I use my iPad all the time. I think you write well – thoughtful and sensitive. I’ve always apprecited what you offer…and grateful we know one another via the blog-o-sphere….

    • Oh – there’s that iPad temptation again! I so want one. I keep counting pennies and thinking maybe one day soon.

      Thank you for your kind words and your presence in my blog-o-sphere. It’s a better place because of you!

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