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I took a bit of a busman’s holiday on 4 September to attend a one-day conference designed to introduce the ideas and concepts behind social media and the church. Presentations were from Dave Merwin and Lee Goodger. The audience seemed to be a mix of experienced users and complete beginners – so I suspect some were bemused by the discussions. Presentations and conversations were interestingly similar to those I have been part of via both the VitaeĀ  research andĀ  SLA and the library communities ; concerns about time, expense, privacy and asking ‘what is the point of this, exactly?’ were raised.

Dave Merwin’s presentation is on slideshare; there’s a much more detailed writeup of the event over at Digital Fingerprint, including notes on Lee’s work.

I attended for two reasons. I wanted to understand what the conversations would be about; to inform my research. Reading about the church’s involvement with the internet via academic papers is a limited approach; it’s out of date, for a start, and then what is researched and written up is not necessarily what’s happening at the grass roots level. So my notes were based around the questions that were being asked; not necessarily what was being presented.

It was a very useful and fun day, great for finishing off my week of PhD work. I met some great people – face to face, and via Twitter. It’s the first event I’ve been to with a Twitter backchannel dedicated to heckling the speaker (not for the faint hearted). The event was put together as far as I can see as part of a wider event from Global Missional Leadership – hashtag for the day was #dmingml (had me guessing for some time too).