Somewhere in the last couple of weeks Twitter stopped pushing updates to Facebook (or Facebook stopped receiving them). In the past there have been times when this connection wasn’t working, or when the updates did post to Facebook after some unexplained delay, but earlier this week it became clear that this was just plain broken.
I did research online, tweeted my frustration through my networks and tried a variety of things to no avail (several times getting twitter’s fail whale while working through facebook on the official twitter app). As I expressed my frustration I heard from several others who were experiencing the same thing. However, no one seemed to know what was going on.
I was finally sent these instructions this morning. I tried them once (only closing my browser, not clearing the cache & cookies). It didn’t work. I later tried it again clearing the cache and cookies. This time it froze up. Finally, on the third try it worked. I was then sent an interesting article describing a similar experience. The author is right, the instructions were very poorly written and several steps required me to dig around and make assumptions about what needed to be done.
It was frustrating to me that I could find no clear explanation about what was broken or what I needed to do to make the connection. It was frustrating to me that neither twitter or facebook were offering clear explanations or helps.
Completely unrelated to these frustrations this morning I had another drastically different experience with twitter. I logged in and saw that 8 minutes earlier @lcom had tweeted, “It’s free ticket Friday. Reply to us for a pair of tickets to the Josh Ritter show tonight at Liberty Hall.” I quickly hit reply saying, “Free tix?! Yes, please.” Within a matter of minutes I received a direct message stating, “Alright, you and a guest will be on tonight’s list.” Yes, it was that easy! I sent a tweet to my bride telling her what had happened and asking if she was interested in an impromptu date night. A few minutes later I received a tweet from her mom (who was coming to town tonight anyway) saying babysitting was taken care of. Within a matter of mere minutes I won free tickets, shared that information with my wife, and lined up a babysitter for tonight!
On one hand, communication broke down and those responsible (me, twitter, facebook) either didn’t know what to do or didn’t seem to even care about the breakdown.
On the other hand, communication was facilitated in an incredibly quick, efficient and rewarding way.
When it comes to communicating within the church I fear that too often things look more like the first of these experiences than the second. Too often systems to facilitate communication and connection aren’t working. To often people who are looking for connection can’t seem to find it. Too often, when they can’t find the connection, it begins to feel as if the church isn’t really interested in helping ensure the connection is made.
I will continue to reflect on these experiences through the lens of my work as the Director of Ministry Connections at Lawrence First and as pastor of the two churches I am currently serving. And while I don’t, of course, have all the answers (or even know all the questions) I will continue to be mindful of the importance of effective communication and will seek ways to make these systems better in all of the organizations of which I am a part.
What have you learned recently about communication (via social media or other channels)? What reflections do you have about my recent experiences?