Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My context, your context - sharing "across"

Here are some questions I've asked during my time on staff:

- What do the other Winter Conferences do for their day of outreach?
- How do the other campuses in my region structure their small groups and leadership team?
- What discipleship tools are people using on my staff team?
- How do the other regional offices structure their office space?
- How are other campuses creating a culture of evangelism among their students?
- What are the other teams in my region doing for personal development?
- How are other summer projects connecting with their alumni?
- What do other campuses do for their weekly meeting?

The list could go on and on. What I've come to realize is that I'm always wanting to know what is going on "across" from me. It's often interesting to know what is going on "up" from me, with those leading me organizationally, as well as "down", with those I am coaching and leading. However, it seems the greatest benefit often comes from sharing and collaborating with those in my same place organizationally. Yet, our systems and communication channels seemingly have difficulty carrying information horizontally - between those that are working on the same projects and within the same contexts.

Not that it doesn't happen. It does. We have New Staff training trips, Missional Team Leaders conferences, Regional Director "Verticals", conference guilds, etc. All help facilitate communication and collaboration. And relationships always exist across campuses and regions that lead to ideas being shared.

But what if we could do this in "real-time"? And in a manner that doesn't mean sending group emails and involve lots of "reply-alls" or one-to-one phone calls or (often) expensive face time (travel)? There are lots of software products that could help us do this using the internet, but I remain convinced that, as a campus ministry, Facebook might the best choice to facilitate this process. Our staff are already on it, our students are definitely on it, and the lost people we are trying to reach with the gospel are certainly on there, too. Did you know Facebook is actually designed to do this sort of thing? Fb recently articulated their mission statement:

“Facebook is a social utility that helps people communicate more efficiently with their friends, family and coworkers. The company develops technologies that facilitate the sharing of information through the social graph, the digital mapping of people’s real-world social connections."

The emphases were mine.

So what would it look like? I'm not sure, but hopefully I'll be developing a few test cases in the coming months that I can share.

What about you? Do you feel this need, too? What do you think about Facebook helping us do this?

(Note: No, we can't spend all our time communicating and collaborating. We've got to get our respective jobs done, living and working in our context. my friend Russ writes, we can have a broader impact by tithing our time.)

1 comment:

  1. I really resonate with this post. I desperately want to see collaboration happen in all directions.

    From a technical perspective identity, search and navigation are foundational pieces for this.

    *Identity* - being able to access multiple systems with one set of credentials
    *search* - being able to find information across multiple systems from one place
    *navigation* - being able to seamlessly navigate across multiple system without having to re-authenticate/authorize yourself

    Committing to work together in integrate on these common elements is really key.

    Collaborating on Facebook covers at least some aspects of all three.