Is Social Media Making Us Less Social? [Part 3]

iPhone 4 Addiction

This is Part 3 in a three-part series on social media usage. Click here to read Part 1 on three main solutions to the overall problem. Click here to read Part 2 on the personal effects of social media.

We are the most connected generation that has ever lived. Think about all the new technologies that have been introduced in the past two decades that have allowed us to stay in touch like never before. Someone can literally get in touch with me almost any time of the day regardless of where I am in the world.

While these advances have created a plethora of benefits, the negative side effects associated with overusing them are beginning to surface. We all know that person who is constantly staring into the screen of their smartphone even when surrounded by friends and family. Or the friend who insists on taking a picture of everything they do and everywhere they go with you instead of simply enjoying the moment for what it is. The video below, while perhaps a bit over dramatic, puts our technology use into perspective.

Here are three major ways that social media is altering our ability to build and maintain interpersonal relationships:  Read more of this post

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In His Image Part 2: Gospel-Centered Singleness, Dating, and Marriage

Mom and Dad

This blog post was adapted from a sermon that I gave at the Harvard Avenue Student Ministry youth group on Wednesday, May 2, 2012. It is the second of a two-message series about a Gospel-defined view of gender and relationships. To read part 1, click here.

The way that we interact with our brothers and sisters in Christ is a testimony to a life transformed by the gospel. The distinctions in our relationships flow from a desire to serve the needs of others and encourage them as they become more like Jesus. As God’s image-bearers , men and women have been created with unique roles that reflect the relationship between Jesus and his bride, the Church. The way we think about manhood and womanhood, singleness, dating, and marriage are rooted in true understanding of the very nature of God.                 Read more of this post

In His Image Part 1: A Gospel-Defined Vision of Manhood and Womanhood

Husband & Wife Walk . . .  (to divorce court)

This blog post was adapted from a sermon that I gave at the Harvard Avenue Student Ministry youth group on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. It is the first of a two-message series about a Gospel-defined view of gender and relationships. To read part 2, click here.

The way that we interact with our brothers and sisters in Christ is a testimony to a life transformed by the gospel. The distinctions in our relationships flow from a desire to serve the needs of others and encourage them as they become more like Jesus. As God’s image-bearers , men and women have been created with unique roles that reflect the relationship between Jesus and his bride, the Church. The way we think about manhood and womanhood, singleness, dating, and marriage are rooted in true understanding of the very nature of God.  Read more of this post

Don’t Waste Your Singleness

lowell heart

Today is Valentine’s Day, a day to celebrate the powerful emotion called love. People spend over $14 billion each year to celebrate the holiday with that “special someone” by making dinner, writing poems, sending cards, dressing up, calling loved ones, and buying flowers, chocolate, or overstuffed animals.

But what about those of us who are single? Should Valentine’s Day (or Singles Awareness Day as some jokingly call it) be a sad, depressing, or anxious day? Not at all! In fact, it’s a unique and exciting stage in your life. Many single people waste their singleness moping around, worrying about finding a boyfriend/girlfriend, or trying to impress those around them. Rarely do people define themselves by their singleness. It’s odd that our culture seems to place marital statuses into a hierarchy that places marriage as higher up than singleness. In contrast, singleness has its perks like flexibility, fewer financial commitments, & spontaneity.

Here are several ways you can avoid wasting your singleness:         Read more of this post

Marketing Alchemy: Turning Lead into Platinum

Graduated cylinders and beaker filled with chemical compounds

Alchemy.

For many of us, this word brings to mind images of crazy madmen in the Middle Ages in dingy basements trying to turn base metals into gold. While this may not be too far from the truth, marketers can learn a lesson from the alchemists of old.

In marketing, there is a common rule that says 20% of a company’s customers contribute 80% of the company’s revenue. Marketers often refer to these individuals as “platinum customers.” Platinum customers have a high lifetime value for a company and are relatively cheap to retain. Not only do these customers contribute a significant sum of money to a company, but they also tend to serve as brand advocates. In other words, they are the type of customers that a company wants to attract and multiply. The most profitable 20% of customers can contribute anywhere between 150-300% of a company’s profits! Alas, not everyone can be platinum, despite what their mothers tell them. Marketers also categorize consumers into “gold,” “iron,” and “lead” groups. Customers in the least profitable 10-20% (primarily lead and some iron) can actually reduce profits somewhere between 50-200%! One of the primary jobs of marketers is to convert as many customers as possible into gold and platinum while “firing” the majority of lead customers. So, how can a marketer do this? Below are just a few ways:

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