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FormSpring Redeemed

June 17, 2010

Have you seen FormSpring?

It’s kind of a social networking service with no social activity and very little networking. A lot of social networking is about profiles and egos, I think, but this has definitely taken it to a whole new level.

You set up an account and people ask you questions – anonymously, if you choose to allow it, which most do because it’s kind of the point.

This could be really cool if the people setting up accounts were astrophysicists or tax accountants or general practitioners or something, but they’re not. They’re teenagers and young adults in college or boring jobs.

It’s kind of weird.

And then I thought: Ministry.

So our student ministry is now on FormSpring. My explanation via Facebook:

But I was thinking about the thing a couple days ago and thought it would be a good platform to allow people to ask scripture/faith/theology/Christian/ … life questions. ‘Cause sometimes you don’t know who to ask. Or how to ask. Or you feel dumb for asking. Or sometimes people as YOU and you have no idea what to say. We’re here for you. Bring it.

I think this could be cool. And maybe your church/youth ministry needs to think about whether you should be on FormSpring.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 28, 2010 5:45 pm

    I’m here at your website randomly, as I’ve been doing a little browsing around for opinions on Formspring after finding out, and being surprised, that there is some controversy surrounding it.

    The majority of the concern I’ve found is the potential for cyber-bullying on Formspring accounts that have anonymous questions enabled. While I have a few issues with the logic there, being a person who takes bullying very seriously, I generously understand the concern.

    The objection you seem to be raising here, however, I do not understand.

    This could be really cool if the people setting up accounts were astrophysicists or tax accountants or general practitioners or something, but they’re not. They’re teenagers and young adults in college or boring jobs.

    It’s kind of weird.

    It’s possible that you did not mean for this to be as offensive as it is. However, considering your well-placed line break, and being a blogger myself, I find that unlikely. It seems to me that you are intentionally denigrating the lives, experiences and worth of college students and young professionals, “average” people they’re sometimes called.

    Essentially, it would be appropriate for people with high social standing, or those with what you consider to be especially utilitarian careers, to speak and field questions, but normal people? That’s “weird.” College students? People with “boring” jobs?* Twenty-somethings? It would be better for them to wise-up, shut-up, and put their heads down.

    Your church group is allowed to have a Formspring, because you have something “important” to say, but if every-day people want to, that’s “weird.” It’s inappropriate. It’s wrong?

    People are the most important “thing” on Earth, whether they are presidents, pastors, or young adults in “boring” jobs. But you apparently think that their occupation, and by extension perhaps their social standing, should dictate the voice they’re given.

    Oppose Formspring because you worry it facilitates cyber bullying. Hate it for moving relationships onto an impersonal medium (the internet.) Hold whatever opinion of it you want.

    But can I ask that you think a little harder before calling into question its universality?

    Your church group is not more important, is not more worthy, is not more holy, is not better, is not superior in any way, to a 23 year old in a “boring” job who has something to say.

    But then again, it’s not exactly news for churches to care more about their “message” than the people it’s supposed to reach. Is it? …Do you have a Formspring where I can ask that?

    * This does bring the question to bear, who are you to arbitrate whether a job is boring or not?

    • Lex permalink
      June 29, 2010 9:21 am

      Wow. I certainly didn’t mean to offend.

      I don’t think any less of people who have less life or professional experience, but by the nature of having less experience, we’re (I’m fairly young myself) not the best places to go for advice.

      That’s IF anyone on FormSpring is asking for advice. I said what I did about it because most of the FirmSpring profiles that I have seen (and I’ve browsed through hundreds) are young people with little knowledge or experience answering questions like, “Who do you like?” or “What do you look for in a girl?”

      If there’s a 16 year old out there who works at McDonalds and has a keen interest in something and has studied it out, by all means make yourself a FormSpring expert. Doesn’t matter to me where you come from.

      The point I was trying to make is that I don’t really see the site being used for anything other than either bolstering egos or (as you mentioned) tearing people down.

      People’s age or job description have nothing to do with their worth, obviously. But they do shape their opinions. And the last thing the world needs is more arrogant, inexperienced people getting puffed up about their opinions.

      We did not set up an account for our ministry because we have something “more valuable” to say. We set up an account because we have made ourselves experts in a particular field and it happens to be a field that a lot of people have questions about … questions that are sometimes difficult to ask.

      I’m guessing you’re probably a young person as well, and so I hope you believe me when I say that I’m not judging your value in any way. I will say that the older I get I realize I know less than I thought I did, and I think you probably will too.

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