Monday, 19 October 2009

Blessed are those who tweet

For they too may spread enlightenment

An anonymous correspondent has commented as follows below yesterday’s posting on Conductive World, on the possible potential utility of social-networking for Conductive Education:

Do you think that major CE questions can be attempted through this networking?

It is hard to know how to answer this without knowing what is meant here by 'major CE questons’. But why should not major questions of principle and belief be presented through Twitter- or Facebook-style postings? Indeed, perhaps the really big questions are rather suited to this medium.

A practical demonstration

Just to demonstrate the mechanics of doing this, I am posting chapter 5 of the Gospel according to St Mathew, vv. 1-48 on Twitter. I could have continued this on through chapters 6 and 7 but I think that this is enough to make the point. See what it looks like at http://www.twitter.com/ (search there for "ceworld")

I could also have done this on other social networking sites: I chose Twitter for demonstration purposed becouseit sounds to some the very epitome of trivialisation, to show what great ideas can be conveyed through this format.

The ideas within in a belief system seem to form a sort of hierarchy. The Sermon on the Mount offers some rather important ones, perhaps half-way or more the scale. They are not at the very top but they are pretty big ideas nonetheles. Individual verses in chapters 5, 6 and 7 of Matthew can be the topic of endless and lively thinking and discussion, and not just for Christians. Some of these may prompt bitter divisions, others might cause new and positive action.

They do not of course exhaust the belief-system of Christianity. There are plenty other ideas at the same level, from this the same source and others, some bigger ones higher up the scale, and lots, lots more at lower and derivative levels. But Christianity as such could surely not have developed if Christ, the Disciples and the Apostles, plus an uncountable number of followeres, priests and preachers over two millennia, did not among other things, engender the most enormous and heartfelt consideration and self-questioning based in part around such snippets.

I could have used other believe systems as examples (and not necessarily religious ones at that) but the Bible’s verse-structure does lends itself most readily to the social-networking format, with no need for editing.

If anyone would like to social-network Pető's proverbs in this way, then please feel free: go ahead and do so. If nobody does, then I might have a go myself, but I should prefer somebody else to take the trouble!

Social newtworking sites alone are not of course enough…

The important thing here is not one, specific medium of communication. Also important surely are:
  • the quality and reality of what you have to communicate in the first place
  • the conjoined presence of other information, media of communication, motivating circumstances etc (books, talks, blogs, meetings, broadcasts, action…)
  • the ‘wetware’, the understanding, the orientation, the articulacy, the moral force etc of the people involved, both the would-be proselytisers and the intended congregations
  • convinced, determined and talented leadership
  • and particularly in the twenty-first century, the fact that we have almost instantaneous world-wide reach at our fingertips
  • and resiprocity...

So the answer to Anonymous is Yes, Twitter, in conjunction with however else you are able to communicate, is a useful addition to a scatter-gun approach to get CE into the parental, professional and public eye. Use every means that you can.

If you are successful in reigniting the fire, you will never be sure what particular actions may have led to it, but at this point use every weapon in the armamentarium, just in case. The problem here for CE is that there is no scatter-gun approach, no focused collective force for this to be part of.

Sorry, Anonymous, for such a long response to a short question! It is always thus to a good one!

Reference

Sutton, A. (2009) Facebook and Twitter: Conductive Education and social networking, Conductive World, 18 October
http://www.conductive-world.info/2009/10/facebook-and-twitter.html 

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