Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Loudspeakers, Telephones, and What We Learn From the Soviets

Just got through reading The Starfish and the Spider. Highly recommend it! Especially for us church leader people. I think it's a great framework for understanding non-linear discipleship and free market small group models.

Anyway-- one of the statements that impacted me the most was found on the very last pages. It's actually a quote from Paul Starr in The Creation of the Media:
After taking power in 1917, the new Soviet rulers could have invested in telephone networks, as other nations were doing at the time, but chose instead to emphasize another emerging communication technology-- loudspeakers.

The leaders of the Soviet Union failed to recognize that the catalysts for economic growth had shifted from communication between government and the masses to communication between individuals.

Today, communication technologies have developed even further. I have never once used a traditional telephone to communicate with the teenagers in my world. I use text, Twitter, and Facebook.

Meanwhile, I find that I still tend to use loudspeaker vehicles for communication in my role at the church-- mass emails loaded with information, platform presentations, and top-down instruction.

What are we using, metaphorically speaking? Loudspeakers? Telephones? Or something new? Do we trust the message and the vision in the hands of our leaders? Or do we hold it close and mass communicate it from a megaphone? Emerging generations want to be involved in the conversation and the crafting of the message and vision. I haven't figured out exactly what that means in terms of implementation and execution, but something must change.


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