Lots of organizations suffer from the pain of incorporating social media into command-and-control structures. The very structures that were once a source of organizational efficiencies are not only superceded by technologies that make those efficiences irrelevant; they actually become obstacles to working effectively with new, decentralized tools.

A blog post this week put the challenge of command-and-control meets social media into a whole new context. In The Catholic Whistle: Technology can cause reformation, Paul Mallinder writes:

If social media (blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc) is a “new” digital continent then the Gospel message probably needs to reach out to it.  But there is a big issue for Church authority, because those who are evangelizing through this social media have not been officially appointed by those in authority.  I think we have been through this before when the Bible was translated into the vernacular and widely distributed through the new technology printing press (Reformation).  Our Church structures are hierarchical and these structures do not play well within the emerging new digital continent.

So, is social media going to be the thing that brings institutional religion crashing down? And if so, do we have to talk about it in terms of ROI?