Recently my fellow blogger and classmate Rachel Simpkins posted a very interesting commentary on the concept of a “second screen” while watching TV.
She informed her readers (including me) that the use of a second, social screen allows viewers to interact with the show or movie they are watching. What makes the second screen social is not just your ability to tweet about the show. The second screen becomes social when you interact digitally with the show and there is some type of response. Rachel used examples such as live betting during sports events, voting for your favorite contestant on The Voice or live tweeting during the Video Music Awards. Mashable has also put together a great list on TV shows that are seeking social interaction with their viewers.
Earlier this month, I suggested that religious services could benefit from this type of social interaction. Some pastors are asking their congregations to live tweet their sermons or ask questions about the sermon via Facebook.
However, Rachel also pointed out the dangers of this plugged- in lifestyle. If we as a connected society can’t event watch TV without a second screen to interact with, how can we possibly sit in church and just listen?
While I think that a digital component could help sustain religious organizations, we also need to look at the flip side.
Is using social media in church distorting its purpose? Is a congregation that is tweeting, posting or pinning actually learning anything or taking in any information?
While some religious groups are adapting to change and embracing social media, others are worried about the effects it could have on them. This leaves a lot of people questioning its necessity versus its effect on traditional worship and face-to-face outreach.
In life, and in church, we need to strike a balance. Sometimes its nice to unplug and take things in the old-fashioned way.