Getting Connected

Given that many of you will have arrived at this blog via Facebook or Twitter, you may or may not know that I do both.  I tend to use Facebook for the more personal “Claire stays in touch” and Twitter for the “Curate practises using Social Media” – and this blog is part of that more public persona.    My theory is that in twenty years time, my “congregation” may well be as much virtual as it is face to face, so I’d better practice while I can.    

Being in a Benefice of three parishes, four churches, and arguably nine or more congregations, making connections is important to me.  Connecting with the lives of the congregations, the parish, the people is incarnational ministry.  It’s something I’ve worked hard at, and will be a work in progress for the whole of my time here.  Those connections weave into my life as well, one reason why boundaries are important.  It is relatively easy to sort boundaries in face to face situations.  I can do things like wear a dog collar when available for public ministry – and not wear one on a day off!  I might meet the same person for different purposes, and wearing a collar or not signals to me and them where the boundaries are.

It gets trickier in virtual life.  In my head, Facebook is “off duty” and Twitter is “on duty”, but the boundaries there are becoming more blurred.  Twitter is not good for in depth discussion, whereas Facebook can cope with more nuanced debate than is possible in 140 tweeted characters.  Increasingly, I am becoming Facebook “friends” with people I have never met, because we want to share debate on matters of mutual interest.  I don’t doubt that some of them will develop (are developing!) into friends in a more traditional sense.  But it does mean I will be more careful about what I post there (certainly about my family).  One solution might be to have a “Curate” FB account, and a “Claire” account – but the boundaries between friend and “friend” feel more blurred than that to me.  

This blurring comes back to incarnational ministry, and to the strands that weave together into my life.  Especially since ordination, and becoming a full time stipendiary curate, the boundary between work and life is blurring.  This is good and bad – the bad bit is about how I balance parish, community, family and me.  The good bit is that I am more integrated and less compartmentalised.  Getting that balance between integration and balance may take a lifetime. 

2 responses to “Getting Connected

  1. You say what I feel so much more succinctly than I could. I am a single person, not split between mutually exclusive personae. My FB and Twitter accounts do different things but overlap substantially; and the 'corporate' page I administer for the Arthur Rank Centre (and the ARC Twitter feed) as well the ARC website are all linked to ME as a whole.
    I'm not very good at balancing, and I am very grateful that I no longer have a vocation for public ministry. So I am all the more earnest in my prayers for those of you who are; and all the more determined to help support you in your vocation.

  2. You and I have a similar pattern of social media use: FB is for friends, Twitter for ministry, the blog is where I dump thoughts and experiences that I want to (and can safely) share.

    For me there is an interesting overlapping point from Twitter which includes mostly the occasional geek (some of whom are atheist) in the loop for tech support, most of whom are also personal friends and therefore part of my FB loop. I've also found Twitter the easiest way to share stuff that's happening, so if I want it to appear on FB I use the #fb tag and appropriate widget on FB.

    Many folk on FB are parish friends – I'm a lay minister who grew my ministry in the parish, so they were friends first, people I minister to, or with, 2nd. Only 2 are also on Twitter, but I do feel the strain of this fuzzy line in my “persona's” most. I don't have a dog collar to help me out here, and don't want to upset folk by “blocking” them on Twitter, but I sort of wish I'd taken more care about accepting their follows.

    It's a tricky thing this connectedness in ministry, isn't it!

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