Facebook and Twitter: Quaker 2.0 technologies

Today’s Times article on Facebook captures a lot a great insight into the connundrum of web 2.0 and it’s meaning to social networks of the future.  Covering the connective and disruptive power of uniting social groups under one public communication tool, journalist Brad Stone brings the wonderousness of reuniting families who have been long separated or estranged with the tragedy of a exec who Facebooked his way to being fired after he criticized a co-worker.

Quaker plain speech, as translated into our 21st century world, offers itself as a strong way to move between all social networking groups.  Characterized as simple and democratic speech, plain speech doesn’t depend on who you are talking to, but offer something to everyone who hears it.  The simplicity of the message can bring unity between people and remind us that something that is said online should match with what is said in public.  Aren’t they one and the same in today’s interconnected world?

Of course, privacy settings, visibility status, multiple/fake accounts, and development of niche social networking sites can continue our sectionalized online life where speech can remain segregated between groups.  However, interconnections can now be built between disparate areas of online speech via RSS, cross-posting, and other push-technologies (a la “your Twitter is in my Facebook” one-post-to-many-sources solutions) where there were previously fixed separations.  Web 2.0 technologies giveth and they can taketh-away,

Now, more than ever, “let your yea be yea and your nay be nay” (Matthew 5:37) brings bearing to an ever-connecting world.  Quaker plain speech, simple and caring, can bring light where conflict arises, take away the power of “truthiness,” and help build a stronger connection between the inner and outer self.

3 thoughts on “Facebook and Twitter: Quaker 2.0 technologies

  1. My understanding is that “weightiness” is part of plain speech as well. Early Friends objected to a lot of conversation that was trivial, concerned with insignificant and worldly things. It was closer to tavern conversation and did not touch on inner reality.
    An awful lot of stuff that shows up on the wall on my facebook page is pretty trivial. And twitter seems to encourage the banal.
    I’m all for connecting, and web 2.0 provides incredible opportunities to connect. But let’s make it more significant than “Woohoo, my team is in the final four!”

  2. Yes, Chad, in a conference session today on “What Would Jesus Twitter?” the question came up what if you wouldn’t want your church life and your work life to overlap? I had several questions on those lines. Would the fact that your lives overlap make you more likely to act with integrity? Wouldn’t this be a good part of spiritual formation? My personal worry is what my work colleagues will think of my religious life. If I say Jesus, will they understand that I follow Jesus and not Pat Robertson?

    I’m not worried that people have trivial parts of their lives that they’re willing to share, we all need rest and recreation, but are we engaged in healthy moderation in all things, including moderation, or we frittering all our time away?

    Chris and I were talking this evening about the Society of the Spectacle. I think that some of what makes Twitter and Facebook addictive is the sense of micro-celebrity. Even the trivia of our lives is interesting to somebody. They also feed our need to always hear “You’ve Got Mail.”

  3. Very interesting.

    As a note, the Downingtown page on plain speech has a few slight errors. Plain dress has never died out among Friends, and in fact there are probably more plain-dressed Friends in 2009 than at any time since 1950.

    Second, the term ‘thou’ was in common use among Friends throughout the 19th century, as the journals attest. It was only in the late 19th century that ‘thou’ fell from common use among Friends.

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