Social media — sites like Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and LinkedIn — are meant to connect us, to link us to others with similar interests and backgrounds. But too often, it has the opposite effect; people hide behind the technology, losing the personal connection those sites are intended to encourage.
Tim Ehrhart of Liverpool wants to change that. That’s why he, along with his father, Mike, and his uncle, Chris, created Beautiful Mess Online, a production company that uses multimedia performances, music and its website to help people “live connected lives.” The faith-based site, Tim Ehrhart said, aims to “share a message that connects people to the important things in their lives.”
“When people attend a Beautiful Mess Production or listen to our music or log onto Beautiful Mess Online, hopefully they leave feeling connected, and with a sense of hope,” Ehrhart said. “I mean connected to others, and connected to the love God provides. We think God is at the center of loving connections. We long to connect, fit in and be part of something. We long to love and feel loved, so the message that we share about connecting with the things in your life and connecting with God is so important to healthy lives and healthy communities.”
Ehrhart created Beautiful Mess Online after his first year of college, having seen many of his classmates flailing, grasping for a connection. He sought a way to provide that connection, using social media to integrate monthly topics, blogs, discussion boards, interviews and live-streaming music he created with the aid of his family — Ehrhart writes the music and plays the instruments, while co-site directors Mike Ehrhart writes the lyrics and Chris Ehrhart sings. The band began creating live music for the site when it went live last month.
“Since we’ve been live, we have learned so much already,” Ehrhart said. “It’s been very confirming to us that this is a message that the world wants and needs to hear. People are looking for closer connections with each other and are looking for connections to the source of life, God. We are busy contacting as much press as we can, and playing shows, but ultimately we believe in the power of word of mouth.”
Ultimately, Ehrhart and his family — in addition to his father and his uncle, the list of content creators on the site contain a high number of Ehrharts — want people to understand that Beautiful Mess Online is a safe space where all walks of life are respected and encouraged. It all starts with coming together and being connected.
“My hope and prayer is that when people leave they know they aren’t alone in this life, and that we are made to be connected,” Ehrhart said. “Also, I hope they leave feeling motivated to action, so that when we see the things in the world, we have the ability to be the change we want to see, and we all have the capability to do that. It starts with being connected.”
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.