Cultivate09-82Tony Steward and I had the opportunity to collaborate last week at the Cultivate Conference on the following topic:

Finding Our End // Communicating in the social web brings relationships with it. How do we care for those relationships in our limitations while continuing to effectively communicate?

As we work online, where do our social/pastoral responsibilities begin
and end, while caring for ourselves and our families?

This session was Tony and I’s “attempt” to formulate some of the things we have been learning online, some of which have occurred during our online work together at

Tony and I did the session a couple of times and each session was completely different in terms of the questions we fielded, and even in how we responded to certain topics.

But I walked away with a couple of thoughts:

  1. People seem to really be struggling with boundaries online.  Both in their use of online technology (time parameters–always available, etc.), and in the selection of tools they use that might help them better manage boundaries.  Tony did a good job on talking about some of the tools and techniques he uses to set better boundaries online such as batching email, Twitter practices, etc.  I spent more time addressing the need for people to set some real boundaries around their online use (i.e. unplugging; not always being available, etc.)

  2. One of the things that Tony said at the end of the second section has really stuck out to me, and I know was really grasped by some of the attendees.  In essence Tony said that too much idle time is spent online, and that leaders shouldn’t be wasting their time online in idleness, but need to be leading.  Tony said it better than I, but that was the essence.  If not, Tony will jump in here and set me straight.

  3. One of the things that I pondered a lot was what I told the groups a couple of times that day. “If you are always available, then your time isn’t worth that much.” If people can always access us, then what do we really have to offer people.

If you were at the session I would be curious to hear your feedback.  Or you can respond to some of the thoughts I have posted.  All in all, Cultivate was a great experience, and though we were leading two sessions, I really felt like Tony and I were in the thick of it, learning as we go as well–because aren’t we all trying to figure out what boundaries look like online, and how we go about establishing them, as well as understanding our pastoral/social responsibility in the midst.