Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Our Wired Lives on Facebook Series: #2 Buried Your Head in Your Phone or Be the Voice to the Voiceless

Currently I’m reading Randi Zuckerberg’s book Dot Complicated: Untangled Our Wired Lives (2013), she wrote about the digital world we’re living now:

“What’s the upside? We’re more connected.
And the downside? We’re more connected.
            Technology has altered every aspect of our lives, from our relationships to our families to our careers to our love ones. It’s changed how we celebrate birthdays, how we announce major life news, how we define friendships, and how we demand costumer service.

            With smartphones, and the cameras built into them, friends and family can share all the most important moments in their lives with one another as they happen. In June 2011, a Pew Research Center survey of over two thousand American adults found that Facebook users have stronger ties with their closest friends, find it easier to get support and advice from people, and are more likely to stay in touch with ‘dormant ties,’ old friends from high school or college, or people who live far away.

            Grandparents can see the face of a newborn grandchild from thousands of miles away through the lens of a webcam and via video calling. In fact, research published in 2012 by Dr. Shelia Cotton at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, showed that seniors who used the Internet were about 30 percent less likely to be depressed than seniors who didn’t.

            Colleagues can have virtual face-to-face meetings with people working in offices anywhere in the world – there’s no such thing as a remote office anyway.
            Friends can capture every moment of a dinner party through photos and make those photos beautiful with professional-looking edits, filters, and borders.
            That same ease of communication might also mean that you get an informal Facebook message on your birthday, instead of a phone call; that you might get an e-mail from the person sitting right next to you at work, instead of an actual conversation; or that everybody at your dinner party might be so busy taking photos and them look nice, that they’re no longer paying attention to anybody else. We can miss important moments if our heads are constantly buried in those phones

            The Internet allows, and encourages, information to travel faster and farther than even before. That means positive information travels quickly…. It also means negative information travels just as quickly… I once overheard a major Hollywood film executive say, ‘Social media has ruined our ability to release bad movies. And we need to be able to release bad movies to stay in business.’ It used to be the case that a really bad movie could still have a great opening weekend, because it would take word of mouth a few days to spread. But in the age of Facebook and Twitter, a movie can be dead in the box office just hours after it opens.

            But just because we have a megaphone doesn’t mean we need to shout from it all the time. If we’re constantly crying ‘Wolf!’ nobody will take us seriously. As a society, we need to accept the gift we’ve been given and realize that it comes with a set of responsibilities. When used thoughtfully and mindfully, we can expand access to knowledge and information, demolish old barriers to understanding, and give a global voice to those who were once voiceless.”
[Long excerpt from Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives by Randi Zuckerberg (Harper-Collins Publishers, 2013), page 65-66, 68-69. Buy this book!]

Let technology supposed to help us, not lord it over us.
Let technology fill our lives with meaning, rather than fear.
Let technology empowered us, rather than overwhelmed us.
Let technology become tools of opportunity to glorify God in everything,
rather than promote insecurity.

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