As a Millennial, I have grown up in the era of social media. The Internet and mobile technology has defined much of how I interact and communicate with people in my life. In fact, it has driven me to be more isolated and to hide behind a screen, struggling to discover real community and real connection. Unfortunately, this is the story of many of my peers as well. The technology that has promised to bring us closer has only, in my opinion, forced us farther apart.
But I don’t believe it has to be this way.
As technologists and innovators, we have the ability to use our skills and passions to change this trend.
We can use our skills to create tools and products that promote intimacy, community, and, above all, a relationship with Christ.
I have been working with a small team of developers and innovators in Orlando, Florida (U.S.A.) for the past year on a product that we believe can help create depth online. Talking Stick, our mobile application available on both iPhone and Android, is a live video chat platform that is designed to be the easiest way to have live moments with your groups.
You can quickly start a live stream with anybody you care about and your friends or family can come and just watch to see what you have to say, or they can enter into the moment and add their response as the Talking Stick rotates around between the participants. Video creates real intimacy and presents an opportunity for vulnerability which in turn builds community.
Our heart behind this product is to see it used for ministry, whether it be for quick prayer updates during the week, accountability checkups, or simply helping your group feel close to each other even when no one is in the same location. My experience back in college ministry was that I felt poured into and connected on Tuesdays when our community group would meet and then again on Thursdays for the club’s weekly meeting, but it was every other day that was difficult. If I had a tool that could help me quickly and easily connect with my friends throughout the week with opportunities to just be together even when apart, my experience would have been much different.
As we continue to work on Talking Stick, would you join us in experimenting with how this new medium could serve the mission field? Try it with your churches, youth groups, small groups, or any groups of friends that you want to stay better connected with and then let us know how we can serve you better. We believe that through products like this we can make the online world less isolating and help to bring people into stronger community than ever before.