From a Real World (Church) Friend :
I got your invitation for Facebook. Yours is the 2nd invitation that I have received. I wondered what led you to start an account on Facebook. Also, I read on Google that Facebook has had some problems with information being compromised. What are your thoughts.
To my Real World Friend:
I have 3 current callings that have converged in various online networking media:
- Connecting with my children through the channels they favor (texting, email, Facebook). They will not always be physically close by and I want to be transitioned to their adult situations before it is necessary. I want to be ready.
- Politics, where I am burdened to participate in grassroots education of conservative principles and strategies, with particular attention to my children’s generation.
- Business, where I am beginning a transition to freelance work.
All of that leaves aside my lifetime calling to bring the Gospel to all the world. These channels of connecting, as well as channels we haven’t encountered yet, constitute the future of outreach.
I’m not that concerned with security, since everything I post through Facebook is information I make available publicly anyway. Among my Facebook “friends” are some of the conservative thinkers and communicators I have been communicating with via email for years. I want my children and friends to be exposed to them, in addition to some new “friends” to whom I’ve been introduced through this experience.
To an Online (Think Tank) Friend:
Do you have a Facebook page? Does your organization?
If you don’t, I think you should. That is the way to reach this generation. They don’t do White Papers. They do viral. But you have to watch how you say what you say. They get reactive to white hot comment because they’re seeing it through filters built for them over their lifetimes by the dominant generational media and public schools.
We have a long row to hoe in order to reach them. Just as we do to reach legal immigrants and minorities. And on a whole lot more than immigration.
From my Online Friend:
I want to start an organization facebook page, though I still have no idea what the utility of the thing is — it’s basically just hosting what amount to personal websites, with notification to your friends when there are changes, right? I’m no technophobe (though I’m not an early adopter either), but I’m obviously missing something.
To my Online Friend:
The utility of the Facebook thing is that you become part of a large network of people who are exposed to and discuss your thoughts—and each others’ in your area of interest.
MY Facebook page doesn’t provoke a lot of discussion because I have a very eclectic group and I’m not famous (half my friends are actual friends and acquaintances about whose politics I’m not familiar; the other half are the handful of Corner people I know and their hangers-on who’ve requested friendships). Andrew Breitbart’s, on the other hand, has hundreds of “friends” who know who Andrew is and are interested in what he has to say. He alternately posts very provocative questions and funny nonsense.
In the week I’ve been doing Facebook, it looks to me like there are personal pages (including celebrity pages that don’t take friendship requests), organizational/group pages, and interest/discussion pages. National Review has a discussion page, but so far, the moderator and I are the only ones who’ve discussed anything. I don’t really know how to leverage this thing, frankly, but I have a real sense—in my particular faith community, it would almost be treated as a kind of revelatory sense—that this is the future of outreach. And we clearly need to learn outreach, as opposed to argumentation. We are not reaching people’s hearts. And people, even good people, smart people, are not using logic. Most people I know or encounter online cannot think on their own. They can only think when they think out loud and their thoughts are allowed to collide with positions counter to or complementary to their own. I bet it’s always been this way in Western culture. Again, in my own faith community, we are taught that “the Lord’s servant must not quarrel. Instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.” I think this is good advice, even if you don’t share the religious convictions that lie behind it.
We have a lot of work to do in the next two years. And the two years after that. We have let the enemy get far ahead of us. We must use every weapon in our rhetorical armory to regain that lost ground.
From Jonah (in The Corner):
For the life of me, I still don’t understand what Facebook is for though.
Facebook is for stalking. At least that’s what my daughter says.
What YOU should be using it for is reaching a new audience, one that (this may surprise you!) has never heard of Jonah Goldberg, Ramesh Ponnuru or National Review Online. These, as I told someone this morning, are the majority of my actual, real life friends I’ve linked to through Facebook.
Facebook and text messaging are how Obama reached young people and our side didn’t.
I can guarantee you Obama and his minions never wondered about this Facebook thing.
They were too busy stealing our children through it.
To one of my children (just a few moments ago, via Facebook):
… when I was your age I was paralyzed with fear and wracked with loneliness. Humanly speaking, I don’t know how I survived. But I did. And I got a lot of healing. As a matter of fact, I’ve continued getting healing throughout the years. Even now, this Facebook thing has helped me heal. (I have a political blog and when I get the chance I’m going address my friend Jonah’s question about Why Facebook? in terms of my own recent experiences.) Making decisions about favorite music, books, movies, what you’re going to reveal to your friends, to the outside world and so on…for me it’s amazing the cleansing, focusing effect it has on both my thinking and my emotions. And just connecting with people—people I know and love, people I’m acquainted with, celebrities I’ve emailed back and forth, and now total strangers whose thoughts and lives I can witness online.
It’s all part of the process.