West Hill Friends: What happened next

West Hill Friends: What hap­pened next. An update on the Meet­ing kicked out by North­west Yearly Meeting:

Wow. 72 hours. It has been 72 hours since we received the news of our dis­missal from our yearly meet­ing. The face­book noti­fi­ca­tions have been end­less. Young peo­ple here in the north­west are angry,…

Quaker Folkways and Being Patterns on the Interwebs

Last Sun­day I have a pre­sen­ta­tion to Had­don­field (N.J.) Meeting’s adult First-day school class about “Shar­ing the Good News with Social Media.” As I pre­pared I found I was less and less inter­ested in the tech­niques of Face­book, etc., than I was in how out­reach has his­tor­i­cally worked for Friends.

For an early, short, period Quak­ers were so in-your-face and noto­ri­ous that they could draw a crowd just by walk­ing a few miles up the road to the next town. More recently, we’ve attracted new­com­ers as much by the exam­ple of our lives than by any out­reach cam­paign. When I talk to adult new­com­ers, they often cite some Quaker exam­ple in their lives–a favorite teacher or delight­fully eccen­tric aunt.

Peo­ple can sense when there’s some­thing of greater life in the way we approach our work, friend­ships, and fam­i­lies. Let me be the first in line to say I’m hor­ri­bly imper­fect. But there are Quaker tech­niques and val­ues and folk­ways that are guides to gen­uinely good ways to live in the world. There’s noth­ing exclu­sively Quaker about them (indeed, most come from care­ful read­ing of the Gospels and Paul’s let­ters), but they are tools our reli­gious com­mu­nity has empha­sized and into which we’ve helped each other live more fully.

In the last fif­teen years, the ways Friends are known has under­gone a rad­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion. The Inter­net has made us incred­i­bly easy to find and research. This is a mixed bless­ing as it means oth­ers are defin­ing who we are. Care­ful cor­po­rate dis­cern­ment con­ducted through long-developed tech­niques of Quaker process are no match for the “edit” but­ton in Wikipedia or some com­mer­cial site with good page rank.

That said, I think peo­ple still are dis­cov­er­ing Friends through per­sonal exam­ples. George Fox told us to be pat­terns and exam­ples in the world and to answer that of God in every­one. A lot of our exam­pling and answer­ing today is going to be on the threaded com­ments of Face­book and Twit­ter. What will they find? Do we use Face­book like every­one else, trolling, spam­ming, engag­ing in flame wars, focus­ing on our­selves? Or do Quaker folk­ways still apply. Here are some ques­tions that I reg­u­larly wres­tle with:

  • When I use social media, am I being open, pub­lic, and transparent?
  • Am I care­ful to share that which is good and eter­nal rather than tit­il­lat­ing for its own sake?
  • Do I remem­ber that the Good News is sim­ply some­thing we bor­row to share and that the Inward Christ needs to do the final deliv­ery into hearts?
  • Do I pray for those I dis­agree with? Do I prac­tice hold­ing my tongue when my moti­va­tion is anger or jealousy?

What strug­gles do oth­ers face? What might be our online folkways?

Testimonies are important because…

Testimonies

Yes­ter­day Friends Jour­nal asked its Face­book and Twit­ter fol­low­ers to fin­ish the sen­tence “Tes­ti­monies are impor­tant because they are ___.” Here’s a word cloud of their answers. This sur­vey comes from Eric Moon’s arti­cle, “Cat­e­gor­i­cally Not the Tes­ti­monies,” in the June/July issue.

A social media snapshot

When I first started blog­ging fif­teen years ago, the process was sim­ple. I’d open up a file, hand-edit the HTML code and upload it to a webserver–those were the days! Now every social web ser­vice is like a blog unto itself. The way I have them inter­act is occa­sion­ally dizzy­ing even to me. Recently a friend asked on Face­book what peo­ple used Tum­blr for, and I thought it might be a good time to sur­vey my cur­rent web ser­vices. These shift and change con­stantly but per­haps oth­ers will find it an inter­est­ing snap­shot of hooked-together media circa 2012.

The glue ser­vices you don’t see:

  • Google Reader. I still try to keep up with about a hun­dred blogs, mostly spir­i­tual in nature. The old tried-and-true Google Reader still orga­nizes it all, though I often read it through the Android app News­Rob.
  • Diigo. This took the place of the clas­sic social book­mark­ing site Deli­cious when it had a near-death expe­ri­ence a few years ago (it’s never come back in a form that would make me recon­sider it). When­ever I see some­thing inter­est­ing I want to share, I post it here, where it gets cross-posted to my Twit­ter and Tum­blr sites. I’ve book­marked over 4500 sites over the last seven-plus years. It’s an essen­tial archive that I use for remem­ber­ing sites I’ve liked in the past. Diigo book­marks that are tagged “Quaker” get sucked into an alter­nate route where they become edi­tor fea­tures for Quak​erQuaker​.org.
  • Pocket (for­merly Read it Later). I’m in the envi­able posi­tion that many of my per­sonal inter­ests over­lap with my pro­fes­sional work. While work­ing, I’ll often find some inter­est­ing Quaker arti­cle that I want to read later. Hence Pocket, a ser­vice that will instantly book­mark the site and make it avail­able for later reading.
  • Flip­board is a great mobile app that lets you read arti­cles on top­ics you like. Com­bine it with Twit­ter lists and you have a per­son­al­ized read­ing list. I use this every day, mostly for blogs and news sites I like to read but don’t con­sider so essen­tial that I need to catch every­thing they publish.
  • Ifttt​.com. A handy ser­vice named after the log­i­cal con­struct “IF This, Then That,” Ifttt will take one social feed and cross-post it to another under var­i­ous con­di­tions. For exam­ple, I have Diigo posts cross-post to Twit­ter and Flickr posts cross­post to Face­book. Some of the Ifttt “recip­ies” are behind the scenes, like the one that takes every post on Word­Press and adds it to my pri­vate Ever­note account for archival purposes.

The Public-Facing Me:

  • Word­Press (Quak​er​ran​ter​.org). The blog you’re read­ing. It orig­i­nally started as a Move­able Type-powered blog when that was the hip blog­ging plat­form (I’m old). A few years ago I went through a painstak­ing process to bring it over to Word­Press in such a way that its Disqus-powered com­ments would be preserved.
  • Twit­ter. I’ve long loved Twit­ter, though like many techies I’m wor­ried about the direc­tion it’s headed. They’ve recently locked most of the ser­vices that read Twit­ter feeds and reprocess it. If this weren’t hap­pen­ing, I’d use it as a default chan­nel for just about every­thing. In the mean­time, only about half of my tweets are direct from the service–the remain­der are auto-imports from Diigo, Insta­gram, etc.
  • Tum­blr (Quack​Quack​.org). I like Tum­blr although my site there (quack​quack​.org) gets very few direct vis­its. I mostly use it as a “links blog” of inter­est­ing things I find in my inter­net wan­der­ings. Most items come in via Diigo, though if I have time I’ll sup­ple­ment things with my own thoughts or pic­tures. Most peo­ple prob­a­bly see this via the side­bar of the Quak­er­Ran­ter site.
  • Face­book. It may seem I post a lot on Face­book, but 95 per­cent of what goes up there is imported from some other ser­vice. But, because more peo­ple are on Face­book than any­where else, it’s the place I get the most com­ments. I gen­er­ally use it to reply to com­ments and see what friends are up to. I don’t like Face­book per se because of its pater­nal­ist con­trols on what can be seen and its recent moves to force con­tent providers to pay for vis­i­bil­ity for their own fan pages.
  • Flickr. Once the dar­ling of photo sites, Flickr’s been the heart­break of the hip­ster set more times than I can remem­ber. It has a ter­ri­ble mobile app and always lags behind every other ser­vice but I have over 4000 pic­tures going back to 2005. This is my photo archive (much more so than the fail­ing disk dri­ves on a suc­ces­sion of laptops).

Hon­or­able Mentions

  • I use Foursquare all the time but I don’t think many peo­ple notice it.
  • Right now, most of my pho­tos start off with the mobile app Insta­gram, handy despite the now-tired con­ceit of its square for­mat (cute when it was the artsy under­dog, cloy­ing now that it’s the billion-dollar main­stream service).
  • Like most of the planet I use Youtube for videos. I like Vimeo but Youtube is par­tic­u­larly con­ve­nient when shoot­ing from a Google-based phone and it’s where the view­ers are.
  • I gave up my old cus­tom site at Mar​tinKel​ley​.com for a Fla​vors​.me account. Its flex­i­bil­ity lets me eas­ily link to the ser­vices I use.

When I write all this out it seems so com­pli­cated. But the aim is con­ve­nience: a sim­ple few key­strokes that feed into ser­vices dis­sem­i­nate infor­ma­tion across a series of web presences.

Must Facebook own everything?

This is just so depress­ing: the Face­book gorilla has bought its sec­ond mobile photo shar­ing app in recent weeks. Light­box was a great app. It auto-posted to every­thing I cared about (Twit­ter, Face­book, Tum­blr, Foursquare, Flickr) but also had its own beau­ti­ful web­site that kept it above the fray. Light­box (my account is/was at http://​mar​tinkel​ley​.light​box​.com/) was what Flickr should have and could have become and it let me enjoy the fan­tasy while also dual-posting to Flickr (http://​www​.flickr​.com/​p​h​o​t​o​s​/​m​a​r​t​i​n​_​k​e​l​ley), which has stored my pho­tos since Mark Zucker­berg was in train­ing dia­pers. For more on the Flickr that never was, see today’s piece in Giz­modo, “How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Inter­net.”

Light­box is join­ing Face­book!
We started Light­box because we were excited about cre­at­ing new ser­vices built pri­mar­ily for mobile, espe­cially for the Android and HTML5 plat­forms, and we’re hon­ored that mil­lions of you have…

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