Kelvin Holdsworth notes that many in Church leadership who are uncomfortable with bloggers are very uncomfortable with social media, where anyone with a smart phone can comment on something the Church is doing in real time. He suggests that while social media may supplant some bloggers, the two forms work hand-in-hand for the good of the whole church.
The injunction “all may, none must, some should” is the classic prescription for how Anglicans deal with confession. However, it is worth thinking of it as a helpful way of thinking about church blogging too. The recent speech of the Archbishop of Canterbury in which he acknowledged the significance (and one suspects, in his mind, the malevolence) of those are able to comment instantly on matters affecting the Anglican Communion is a significant recognition of the importance for good or for ill of those who write online. Now, skating over the possibility that there’s some connection between blogging and the confessional, it is maybe worth thinking about where we’re at when it comes to church bloggery.
I made a prediction at the start of the year that the number of church bloggers would probably decline but the significance of those who continued would probably continue to rise. The archbishop’s comments, which I’ll come to in a moment certainly bear that out the latter half of that prediction but what about the decline in those blogging from a church perspective. What’s that all about?
Well, the rise of social media has changed the way a lot of people engage online. At one time blogging was an obvious way of connecting in an online environment. Nowadays you’ve got to work for your community if you are keeping a blog and saying what you want to say in the short telegraph messages of social media gives you an almost instant community and the instant gratification that goes along with saying something and getting a response from others very quickly.
I happen to think that the arrival of social media is a good thing. Indeed, I think it is an excellent thing. Its power is yet to be fully understood and it has completely changed the relationship of individuals with power and hierarchy. This is something that church leaders have often found difficult to believe, never mind difficult to stomach.