I approached the Christians and New Media Conference (here’s their website) with a great deal of trepidation. I’m not very good with technology, it breaks in interesting ways when I try to use it (Standard comment from anyone trying to help me is “I’ve never seen that happen before” or varient therein.)
I joined Twitter and started blogging because I thought any new Curate ought to get the hang of such things before going to a parish and finding that “The Vicar’s Blog” was part of the job. I’ve found social media to be a friendly place, not full of “scary men” as so often portrayed in internet safety literature. I’ve found friends, support, laughter, wisdom, advice, education…..
Hence my signing up to cnmac – an opportunity to “tweet up” with people I follow, whose blogs I read, and to meet new people too. But as a good introvert, I worry about big groups. I needn’t have done. cnmanc11 was a wonderfully friendly place to be, where people smiled, people said hello, whether they recognised names or not. It was just great to meet with people whose Christian names I struggle to remember, but whose Twitter names stay with me (James, Will, Laura – see, it shouldn’t be hard!), and those whose Twitter names are their real names too (like me – @ClaireMaxim1).
I enjoyed Pete Phillips talking about the theology of social media. Because I see it as another tool for communication, it doesn’t occur to me that God wouldn’t use Twitter, FB etc etc, so it was useful to hear views about that spelled out. And I was delighted to find that I mostly follow the sensible advice given to those new to Twitter by @Vahva, and new to Blogging by Bp Alan Wilson whose blog is well worth a read. Highlight though was @Digitalnun Sister Catherine, who talked about the interaction of personal relationships online – read her blog too!
But best was the talking, seeing faces, discovering that new friends really are old friends already. It is difficult to disguise oneself in 140 Twitter characters, and so wonderful to find I already “knew” many people – and am now following a whole lot more.
cnmac was energising, inspiration and friendly – looking forward to next year already!