Social Media and Changing the World

Social Media and Changing the World

Photo credit: Flickr (Creative Commons)

Here’s a 4 mins and 30 seconds long talk I was asked to give at the Lausanne Congress in Cape Town two years ago. It is interesting to reflect that this was the only talk given about social media at the whole 10 day long conference. A lot has changed since this talk was given. Take a look at the talk and then let me know what you would have said given 4 minutes to talk about this subject to an international audience.



6 thoughts on “Social Media and Changing the World

  1. Mark says:

    Many thanks Krish, especially for a timely reminder of the potential of and for challenging my default attitude of ambivalence, suspicion and negativity toward Social Media Networks.

    Just back from the Baptist Assembly where the deploying of Twitter seems to have been a significant innovation and arguably one of the few ways of genuinely listening and sharing among those gathering at a strategically significant time for the BUGB.

    How do we safeguard against marginalizing those who don’t (yet) or may never have access such Media? And how do we safeguard against an addictive excess where people disappear from the light and fresh air and live in the more abstract, environs of the internet and become less connected in real time with real people, community,family and friends?

    1. krishkandiah says:

      cheers mate – the channel that twitter provides at conferences / gatherings is very interesting.
      i think addictive behaviour is a problem in all sorts of places – just some addictions are more socially permissible.
      I admitted the other day that i am a book-aholic but no one challenged me – (it wasn’t a great turn of phrase in retrospect).

  2. michael says:


    I enjoyed watching your talk. You ask what I/we might have said given the some opportunity and time allotment.When I think of Social Media and the future these are the topics that connect with the conversation in my mind. If I talked fast maybe I could communicate this in 4 minutes:)

    • Change is something that many people fear, and yet is inevitable as the journey of life continues.
    • Globalization, in turn, is being driven by a broad and powerful set of forces associated with technological change, international economic integration, domestic market maturation within the more developed countries, No one is immune to these forces
    • The church is not immune from feeling the effects of this change. Perhaps, she is even a little dazed and confused on how to respond to culture given the rapid changes it has undergone over the last fifty years.

    Semiotics and the Next Generation

    The current generation of Christians are creating open
    groups of communities in which the church is beginning to take notice. As the next generation of children (Generation Y) are seeing this take place, they are developing the ability to see the semiotics of our time without apprehension, fear, attachment, or pride of tradition.

    • Generation Y is the largest generation in earth’s history.
    • Out of the approximate seven billion individuals on planet earth, almost half are under the age of twenty-five.
    • The last half of this generation, commonly called iY, is the largest segment of that generation. “Generation iY is the most eclectic and diverse in our nations history. They are also the first generation that does not need leaders to get information; they have electronic access to every piece of data you can imagine.”


    • The invention of the printing press revolutionized how communities functioned, individuals learned, and societies interacted.
    • This single invention shifted every area of life. From the fifteenth century’s Gutenberg Press, until the twenty-first century’s Web 2.0
    • One of the greatest problems in trying to tackle the issue of technology is the vastness of its reach.
    • A conversation about many of the risks as well as the rewards for incorporating technology and specifically Information Communication Technology into ecclesial and missional life.
    • The best place for this analysis to begin is within the human brain.

    Cognitive Shifts

    • Epistemology is relatively complex and obscure. The subject matter is concerned with the origins and nature of knowledge.
    • In understanding the origins of knowledge, it is essential to examine the medium used to communicate this knowledge.
    • If the medium communicates through writings, radio, television, orally, or via the Internet, each message is processed by different neurological means. The product of these varying transitional forms of media has given way to a shift from a primary left brain centralized society to a right brain de-centralized next generation.
    • The printing press was steroids for our left hemisphere brains. Logic, reason, order, critical analysis, and abstract thinking are all functions of our left brain.
    • The photograph was developed and introduced the right brain to the world. This single invention began the shift from our left brain dependence on writing to our right brain desire for images.
    • Images, creativity, art, music, and abstract thought are what the right brain craves. The digital age has added a buffet that continually stimulates our right brains.
    • Images and icons are fast replacing words as the prominent system for communication for our culture.
    • The proof lies within the identification of companies like Nike’s swoosh and McDonald’s golden arches. These companies lose no brand recognition by using these symbols instead of words. The reason this phenomenon is taking place within Western culture and much of the world is largely in response to television.
    • Generation Y is a right brain generation driven by imagination, story, and music. Fearing this leads us into setting up roadblocks for allowing the younger and older generation to mix.
    • If a right and left brain symbiotic relationship takes place
    • Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” The reason, knowledge is finite but imagination can take a person into the infinite. This is a matter of dreams versus information and without dreams information is worthless.

    The Medium is The Message
    • The medium is the transportation of a message. Two thousand years ago, communication was accomplished primarily orally; four hundred years ago, through books; two hundred years ago, the telegraph; one hundred and twenty years ago, through print and photos; fifty years ago, through television; and over the last twenty years, through the Internet.
    • Varying forms of mediums are used to communicate the correct message.
    • Our attention must be given to the message, the medium, and the forum. For example, smoke signals can communicate messages to other communities, but it would be hard to discuss theological issues in this fashion. Today, many forms of mediums we use go directly against the content we are trying to communicate.
    A message denotes a specific, concrete statement about the world. Nevertheless, the forms of our media, including the symbols through which they permit conversation, do not make such statements. They are rather like metaphors, working by unobtrusive but powerful implication to enforce their special definitions of reality. Whether we are experiencing the world through lens of speech or the printed word or the television camera, our media-metaphors classify the world for us, sequence it, frame it, enlarge it, reduce it, color it and argue a case for what the world is like.

    • Often times, the two contradict each other. When this happens, whether we realize it or not, we fail to communicate and connect the message we are so eagerly sharing.

    Technology within Ecclesial and Missional Life

    • There are currently 1.7 billion people who use the Internet regularly.
    • It is now possible for someone who has access to the Internet to reach one-fourth of the world’s population sitting at their dining room table,
    • Eighty percent of the United States’ population is online.
    • Currently India is developing a free wireless Internet service that will reach their population of over one billion people for absolutely free.
    • Nearly 100 percent of college graduates are online, along with more than 81 percent of teens.
    • The rise of Web 2.0 and the increasing availability of the Internet is a force the church must acknowledge with great fervor.
    • The current growth rate of the Internet over the last ten years is 444.8 percent.
    • Taking this number and calculating the possible next ten years of Internet, over half of the world’s population should have regular access to the Internet.
    • Sometimes technology can actually create barriers, but, if used correctly, it can be an extension of our hands and feet.
    • “Every medium is an extension of our humanity…all forms of media extend or amplify some part of ourselves. They either extend a part of our body, one or more of our senses, some function of our mental process, or some social process.” Either we become an extension of technology or technology becomes an extension of us. When media fails to be seen this way, it is given the power to make us slaves to our own innovations.
    • God opening the minds of men in order to create such amazing systems. “At a time when science and technology are having an adrenaline rush, few in the church get ICT (Information Communications Technology) much less social media specifically. The notoriously technophobic mainline church has drifted beyond the sidelines.” If the church wants to remain engaged in the 21st century it must begin to use ICT and specifically social media in ways to join forces to accomplish the missio Dei.

    1. krishkandiah says:

      wow mate – great stuff – you must speak very quickly – well done!

  3. Karl Udy says:

    I liked what you had to say. One would hope that if it were today, there would not just be a message on why we should use social media, but also messages on how we can best use social media as the church.

    And as I see it, the number one problem, just like in face-face interactions, is we don’t listen enough.

  4. Bryony says:

    I really like the comments you make. I think that it is clear that we cannot avoid the changes and use of social media as Christians who are called to be salt and light for our neighbors.

    However, I do understand that it raises a lot of pastoral issues that shouldn’t be overlooked.

    Equally, the reason that we are using it is becuase it frees us and gives us a voice to speak when we are neglected by the secular mass media. I think the danger would be if we neglected real life church for social media/ online church.

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