There’s plenty to keep biochemist Fazale “Fuz” Rana on his toes. He has a new book in the works (entitled Creating Life in the Lab), three grown daughters, and a new almost-housetrained bulldog, Archie. So Fuz has found an unconventional way to juggle his responsibilities: the new networking technologies. Facebook has become his platform for testing article ideas, as well as a way to reconnect with old friends and keep track of his daughters. He’s even given Archie his own Facebook page. And Fuz finds creative ways to use this technology for ministry outreach, too.
MB: What do you see is Facebook’s main usefulness to RTB?
FR: To make an impact it’s important to go where people are. Having a presence on Facebook gives us added opportunity for connection. Unlike a typical website, Facebook allows our constituents to get immediate reports on our outreach events, keep up with our activities at RTB headquarters in real time, and get to know us on a more personal level. And we get to know our constituents better, as well.
MB: How has Facebook helped you reach out to people?
FR: I usually post links to my latest Web articles and Science News Flash podcasts and sometimes status updates about the different projects I’m working on. But my favorite part of Facebook is interacting with our constituents from time to time on an individual level, like my interactions with an old friend who wondered how God would judge her lifestyle choices. Within that context, ministry becomes much more authentic.
MB: As a biochemist, do you see any similarities between social networking practices and cell communication?
FR: Yes, the cell’s chemical systems are organized into networks similar to social websites. Processes inside the cell are made up of metabolic pathways. These routes can be linear, branched, or circular. The chemical components and enzymes that comprise a particular sequence sometimes take part in other pathways. These shared compounds create a network of metabolic pathways.
One of the big differences between the cell’s metabolic networks and social networks is their robustness. Social networks, like all man-made networks, tend not to be robust and optimized due to their complexity. But recent scientific work indicates metabolic pathways within the cell are optimized and remarkably robust, qualities that point to the work of a Creator.
MB: How can RTB friends use Facebook to promote RTB’s message of reconciliation between science and faith?
FR: I’d encourage everyone to become a fan of “RTB_Official” and friends with the scholars and other staff. Participate in conversation threads and share RTB status updates with friends. That will introduce new people to the ministry and expand the reach of our resources. When the first issue of RTB’s e-Zine came out, I posted a link to it on my Facebook page. People immediately responded. One mom said the e-Zine’s contents would help her son deal with science-faith issues at school.
This is just one example of how we can use social networking to multiple RTB’s ministry, not only by linking with more people, but also by interacting with those people on a more personal level.