Leadership in the Age of Social Media

A couple weeks ago I spoke on a panel about Quaker leadership in the age of social media at the Earlham School of Religion Leadership Conference.

My main point was that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The people we communicate with still have all the same issues, the same gifts, the same dramas. Email, Skype, and Twitter are just tools that we learn to use, not an end in themselves. The audio distortion that comes from writing and reading on the internet is just a different kind, not a different degree, not more or less serious than the distortions from when we first started writing and reading on paper or talking on the phone as opposed to talking to one another in person.

One advantage of electronic media among Friends, as in any widely dispersed group, is that you can find the "long tail," the one person in each of 100 different meetings who also care about the same obscure topic that you do. And you can subscribe to groups or feeds on topics that you are just barely concerned about, that are just growing nudges, at very low risk. You can lurk.

With these new communication tools, it is even more important for leaders to admit their mistakes. There's less chance for hiding and hoping no one notices. My personal life, my professional work and my Facebook page are all connected. Which calls for integrity, which is also nothing new among Friends.

Here's the video:

How have you experienced leadership (or lack thereof) among Quakers online?

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