If you have read my posts at all in the last six months or so you will have noticed a lot of conversation about My Space and some of the concerns I have about it. i.e. pornography, preying on young children, conflicting online/in person personalities and convictions of people. I was also concerned that you are somewhat limited by the content after you begin to sign off and invite people. Sure, you can control your own page, but once you begin adding friends the rabbit trail goes on forever through an endless web of connectivity. That has kept me from joining for a long time, though I have joined before in the past, but just found it too much work along with this blog.
But outside of me, I had concerns about my college students and so we have tried really hard to create a great website at The Quest, and my student designer has a great eye for design and aesthetics. But no matter how hard we tried, students just weren’t going to our site to post comments or visit the forums, and we were doing a lot of work for naught it seemed at times.
So for the last few months I have cruised around the different communities online, I have been having endless conversations with many people, trying to figure out what people are looking for. And I can’t specifically state what that intangible is outside of the big word “community.” But whatever it is, My Space has it. Many sites have better design, but when it comes down to the basics, the ease and functionality of My Space, especially joining it is hard to beat. And with the attention My Space gets, the community is already there and it is huge. So it’s no wonder that all of my students are already on My Space.
So what are my options:
1. I can continue to resist.
2. I can continue to plug our website and hope that there is a big turnaround.
3. I can join with them in their community.
I have chosen #3. There is no reason for me sit and expect tons of students to leave their online communities to visit our website and be a part of it. Maybe they would do both, but I’m not sure at this point. I tihnk there are some other online communities and some ones that are being designed that will attract students, but for now, My Space rules this domain.
As a Christian I often don’t like some of the content I come across and I am somewhat shocked at what people will say assuming they are speaking in anonymity. But I figured it was time that I went onto their turf instead of expecting them to come onto mine. So I not only updated my personal page, but I also created a group for our college ministry. I am hoping that instead of keeping my head buried in the sand that I can be more a part of their community online and that we can have a transformative effect online.
As Christians we often worry about appearance and what groups we belong to, and how people will perceive us. But My Space seems like a good place to go into and help be a transforming agent and a light for Christ, rather than conforming to the world. And it seems highly unlikely that non-Christians will want to come onto our territories, so maybe it’s time that we get out the Christian bubble we sometimes hole ourselves up in and go out into the world.
This is probably a 180 degree turn regarding My Space from my previous posts, but I have been convicted as of late, and I have been asking how we might utilize the good things with My Space as a Christian community.