For the last umpteen years I have been a General Synod member. This is the first year in a long time that I’ve not been there. Thankfully there is an opportunity to hear it on the SEC website and to engage via Twitter and Facebook in an informal way. Surprisingly, the greatest pleasure has been taking part with the worship, albeit 25 miles away. As someone who does the Office alone (except in Lent and Advent), it is always a treat to join in with others.
Yesterday I heard someone saying that they thought Twitter should not be allowed at General Synod. This person had been brought up to listen attentively when someone is speaking, which seems to imply that the rest of us weren’t. Indeed some of us can multitask – can read, listen and type at the same time. As Christine said, at university we listen and make notes (copious in some cases). True, there was a time when Twitter at GS was used to be amusing and perhaps a little bit subversive but those days are long gone. So it seems sad that as soon as someone moans about Twitter everyone stops using it. This means that those of us at home are left without means of joining in with our friends. Yes, when at home I can watch it on my computer, but when I’m travelling or out and about catching up makes it rather difficult.
Is social media to be condemned by the church? Well, all I can say is that there are still many new people coming into our churches via websites, Facebook pages and Twitter. In fact, there are few new people coming into church who haven’t used one of those inlets.
And yes, I do have some members who say, with a little pride I suspect, that they will never use Facebook and then constantly ask, “Where did you see/hear that?” Doh.
I’ve missed not being at Synod this year. I’ve missed seeing friends from around the Province. I’ve missed catching up with the good Cursillo folk who do the tea and coffee (even though I prefer Starbucks). I’ve missed not winking across the floor to Bishops old and new. I’ve missed sitting in the ‘naughty corner’. I’ve missed not being able to take part in debates, something which I don’t often do but wish that I could when I can’t. Does that make sense?
I’ve missed lots, however without social media and the internet I would have missed a lot more. Thanks to those who made it possible for us to hear and to see.