Ideas Week: Going Mocial

It’s Chicago Ideas Week.

Light Bulb Wreath from Howard Tullman’s private collection

Touring Howard Tullman’s Tribeca Flashpoint Academy yesterday – a for-profit two-year college in the heart of Chicago – felt like what I imagine it feels like to tour the USC Film School in LA.  The tour guides were very cool and said things like, “When Tyra Banks was here . . .”

The result is that I felt fairly dorky in my black pea coat and sweater tights.  (Imagine Velma from  Scooby Doo touring the set of Minority Report and you get the idea.)

Howard Tullman has made millions doing entrepreneurial things, and he shared his insights yesterday on what he’s learning.  I could write several weeks worth of blog posts on his commentary.  But for today:  Mocial Networking (Mobile Social Networking)

If you connect with people on the run, you already do this, of course, but imagine these activities – all possible right now –  via your smart phone:

  • Filtering of Data so that we can see what our friends and colleagues are doing as often as they want to tell us.  Imagine Ticketmaster connecting with our Facebook friends so that we can see exactly where our friends are sitting at a concert or ball game.
  • Smart Reach between people and objects.  “It if computes, it connects.”  We can measure when our laundry is dry, how far along our moving van has traveled, or how many people have gathered for a protest via phone apps that send us progress, locations, and data via texts.  Measuring on the go.
  • Real Time Sharing via eavesdrop apps that allow information (e.g. music) to be shared between two friends without those Old School headphone splitters.  In fact you can be in different states and share music or videos.
  • Fully Interactive Engagement in crowds.  In a stadium, everyone can vote on the encore song or voice their opinion on a ref’s call.
  • Fan Solicitation that negates the need for Ticketmaster to promote sales.  For example, if 19 million people are following Taylor Swift on Twitter, you can tell her followers about the new tour dates and they can buy tickets directly from her.  And then your phone can tell you which of your FB friends will be there.
  • Wiki Work makes good use of random time.  For example, after people randomly watched the video of a school bus monitor being bullied, they contributed over $700,000 to fight bullying during the course of two months.

So, as Howard Tullman was flying through double-screened slides of interesting data and analysis, I was probably the only person in the room wondering how this all impacts institutional faith communities.  Off the top of my head, these are my first thoughts about what this means for Church People:

  • Measuring is everything:  Our Klout scores – and similar tools – will determine what we pay for items online.  For example, Tyra Banks will – ironically – pay less for cute shoes because it’s believed that if she loves her new Louboutins, she will tweet about them and millions of others will want to buy their own pair.  If I buy them (which I won’t), it will cost me more because I don’t have her reach mocially.  The church will need to be a community – and perhaps the  only community – that doesn’t care what your real-world influence might be.  We will love you if no one knows your name.  We will welcome you even – even – if you don’t own a smart phone.
  • All this stuff eventually makes our brains hurt.  It’s very cool and yet we need to turn it off occasionally.  (Insert Sabbath in the Suburbs pitch here.)  Church might soon be the one “place” where people are encouraged to take a Sabbath, teach Sabbath skills, and remind people that there is a Creator who is mightier than Zuckerberg.

As I was reading about Howard Tullman after the lab talk yesterday, I came across this quote from the 9-11-12 issue of INC magazine, written by Tullman:

“Too many businesses run into serious problems because they waste time trying to make their circumstances fit their plan rather than changing their plan to fit their circumstances. The longer you benchmark or measure your progress to an irrelevant or outdated standard, the more time you waste and the more ground you give up to the competition.”

I would shift this to say that too many churches waste their time trying to make their circumstances fit their customs rather than changing their customs to fit their circumstances.  The longer we benchmark or measure our progress to an irrelevant or outdated standard (church attendance, church building, church budgets), the more time we waste and the more ground we give up to the competition – i.e. a secular world view.

And that’s what I learned on Tuesday.



3 responses to “Ideas Week: Going Mocial

  1. brilliant, as always. I love how your mind works!

    and, fwiw, I was actually thinking yesterday about how cute your outfit was. 🙂

  2. ooh–I think I might have finally figured out how I can comment using my blogger address instead of facebook! (yes, that is worthy of a whole new comment–so exciting!)

  3. Thanks Teri. I did look like Velma, though, didn’t I?

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