The “Please, Someone Notice Me!” Generation

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When I was a teen, I was really into Aerosmith. I had all their albums. Nearly played the grooves off the LPs.

My father was an opera and classical music buff. His assessment of Aerosmith: “The music you kids listen to is complete crap.”

The irony of this is that I eclipsed my father in rank geezerdom by a decade and a half. For by the time I was a mere 30-years old, I was already mouthing his same words whenever I heard the latest rap artist coming out of the boombox of some 16-year old with his pants lurking at the outer limits of his glutes.

What a fogey, eh?

Now despite 25 years in the tech field, I’ve got to say that I simply do not understand some aspects of the popular social/relational technology of our time.

For instance, to this day, I have never once seen the need to send an instant message via AIM or its clones. I see no reason to text anyone by cell phone (phone being the defining usage). Baby goes web surfingThe appeal of MySpace, Facebook, Orkut, Virb, and most of the other social networking sites is lost on me (though I can see some purpose in the business-oriented site LinkedIn). And I am utterly baffled by Twitter. Utterly.

Because I was being screamed at by every blogging guru to get a Twitter account, I did. As of today, I have yet to post anything through Twitter. Frankly, I still don’t get it. Why is anyone interested in knowing that I just took the trash to the curb or that I gave the dog a bath? In fact, if I were a criminal, Twitter and its mimics would be a gold mine. I mean, when some Twit tells the whole world, “Hey, I’m leaving tomorrow to go reef diving in Australia for the next month,” isn’t that akin to “Burglars, please break into my vacant house and rob me blind”?

A bunch of friends have all decided to join Facebook recently. I’m not on Facebook because I hear they sell every last bit of demographic info that you post there—like I need more spam or hopeful authors of books on dealing with incontinence (from a Christian perspective, of course), who beg, “Review my book on your blog and I’ll let you keep it.”

I guess some of you might wonder what the whole point of this blog is then, but the blog was never intended to be about me. It really is supposed to be about us and how we can be a better Church.

One of those new-to-Facebook friends sent me a screen capture of all the accumulated friends who posted on his Facebook page what they were doing or thinking (à la Twitter, sort of negating the point of Twitter, at least as I see it). The more I looked at those comments, the more I thought that we have become a generation of people who are dying for someone to notice that we exist. And we’ve taken that into the most impersonal venue possible, the Internet.

I find that reality soul-crushingly sad.

Several years ago, I read a book by John Locke called Why We Don’t Talk to Each Other Anymore that was prescient in its arguments that we are becoming a relationally-disconnected society through the use of technology. Locke’s arguments were astonishingly accurate for 1999, a date that preceded all the relational techno-ware by which we connect to others today.

Locke notes the loss of nonverbals such as body language, which scientists have found make up the large majority of communication signals we send through social interaction. The result is a generation of people who mangle interpersonal, face-to-face communication because they are too inexperienced in reading other people’s nonverbal communication. Worse, they fail to develop their own nonverbals as a result, which means that even people who are skilled at this type of communication find them to be perpetual blank slates.

In some ways, we are becoming a society of autistics, lacking the basic communications skills that define us as human.

Yet the cry of the human heart to be known and to know others remains. Our problem is that the means by which we choose to do this are fundamentally impoverished. The friend who sent me the screenshot of his Facebook site  was someone I’d seen face-to-face just hours previously. The amount of interpersonal information that we shared in the three hours we were together most likely dwarfed the sum total of emails we have sent each other in the twenty years we’ve been friends. How many people, though, find the majority of their relational cachet bundled up in deficient resources like Twitter, AIM, or even Second Life? I suspect the numbers are larger than we might believe.

I mentioned Joe Myers’ book The Search to Belong a few weeks ago and the startling statement he makes that it is too much to ask of people to come to our homes and visit for an evening. Too many people find this to be a complete nervous freak out, evidently. Is it any wonder? They’ve lived their entire relational life texting to “friends” or Twittering their lives away. How then would you relate face-to-face with flesh-and-blood people in their personal space?

Still, that nagging desire to be noticed by someone, anyone, grips people. When you’re reduced to a jagged avatar on an LCD screen with a couple burned-out pixels, life seems a little less meaningful.

Sadly, most people addicted to this stuff can’t see how they’re losing out. They keep screaming to people digitally to take notice, yet all the while there’s people right next to them they’re ignoring. (For the irony of this, consider the interactions of humans in the movie Wall-E.)

I’ve got to think the Church in the West MUST begin addressing this problem now or we may be too late. We’re inviting people into a relationship with God, but if they cannot relate to other people normally, how will they deal with the God of the universe? He’s never Twittered, as far as I know.

That dire call for attention becomes a roar when billions of people cry out at once. Are we listening? Are we going out to the byways and calling in the ones huddled under their bedcovers trying to get in one last texting from the Blackberry? Or are we, too, trying to type out “NE1 THER?”

***

UPDATE: The friend mentioned in the post sent me a  link to a New York Times article that completely rebuts everything in my post. I didn’t know about the article when I wrote this, but I disagree with many of its points. I find it odd that the fact that face-to-face time is suffering (as I said) is mostly glossed over and explained away. I’ll let you all decide the merits of the article, “I’m So Totally, Digitally Close to You“, and its comments afterward. BTW, the same friend informs me that hyperextroverts like me seem to be the only people who are put off by all these social networking sites. Evidently, introverts are just eating this up because it allows them to hop in and out of the networks so as to keep a toe in the social networking pond without having to dive in and hold one’s breath underwater for hours.

42 thoughts on “The “Please, Someone Notice Me!” Generation

  1. I read one of the most interesting (and obvious) descriptions of this in Shane Hipps’ book, “The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture: How Media Shapes Faith, the Gospel and Church.” He says the issue is that when we’re texting, Twittering, or even talking on a cell phone, we are not fully present in either place. To the recipients, we’re a disembodied voice. To those around us as we use this technology, we’re a non-responsive body. It’s not just the technological means that are fundamentally impoverished.

    • Jan,

      I visited your blog last night to catch up and not more than an hour later you drop by here. What synchronicity!

      The Amish are interesting in that we always think of them as having rejected technology. That’s not true. What they reject is mankind being subject to the technology we create. It sure seems that a great deal of the technology we have today forces us to serve it rather than the other way around. When people spend all day twittering, they are serving the technology.

  2. Are there people that use twitter and facebook and all of the other tools that are out there in the very fashion you put forth? Absolutely. I don’t think that means that the tools themselves are useless.

    A number of people use those tools to either keep in touch with distant relatives/friends or to find new friends and build relationships with them. I also use them to get word out about podcasts and blogposts I put out. They’re excellent marketing tools.

    We could certainly call or send letters as folks used to do and I for one do believe that email/im/microblogging can contribute to poor writing skills, so there are down sides. The fact of the matter is though, people like instant communication and there are serious advantages to the things that you speak of over email/snail mail/telephony.

    There was a time where I would have agreed with you and I still don’t understand the folks that feel the need to blog/tweet (what you call a twitter post) every miniscule detail of their lives. But, just because I don’t understand something doesn’t mean that it is therefore a bad thing.

    • Scott,

      I think it’s a bad thing when it replaces face-to-face or even voice-to-voice. And, sadly, it does. The New York Times article says as much. People elect not to pick up the phone or to stop by. That only leads to a distancing that can’t be bridged by these tech tools. As much as it might be nice that someone sends me an email or Facebook note when I suffer a tragedy, isn’t showing up in person at my doorstep more the measure of a real friend? I’ve even caught myself resorting to email when I should have phoned someone or shown up in person, so I know that these tech tools are causing me to distance myself from others, choosing the tech means rather than the more relationally fulfilling means. In fact, I made a note last week that in those cases that I know a phone call is needed, I will phone and not email. I hope to keep expanding on that thinking in the future.

      So call me a neo-Luddite.

      • I disagree that the technology is “causing” the lack of communication. I think that might have more to do with human nature. If someone isn’t showing up at your door when you get some tragic news or something bad happens that speaks more about the person than anything else. What you seem to be saying is the modern equivalent of “The devil [technology] made me do it.”

        I’ve personally seen the group of folks I follow on Twitter come around someone during a time of tragedy, offering prayers, kind words, and gathering funds where needed. It’s hard to show up on someone’s door when they’re 2-7,000 miles away, so one does what one can. A podcaster I follow moved across country recently and thanks to the friends he made on twitter he had places to stay all along the way. The technology made that not only easier to organize, but I’d argue that it made it possible in the first place.

        Human nature, our sin nature, is what makes us do the bare minimum or less. It’s not the tech that’s causing some sort of disconnect, it’s the fall from grace.

        • Scott,

          If these technologies are making it possible for people to do less, then isn’t that a problem we need to address?

          From another perspective, don’t these technologies force people to make assumptions? For instance, if I seethat someone has a huge network of friends on Facebook, doesn’t that make for assumptions that the person will be cared for in a time of need, an assumption that may not be true? Doesn’t the illusion of the Facebook friend page make it possible for someone to have an appearance of popularity that never extends to reality? What good is it if I have a 1,000 friends on facebook but none stop by my home? It seems to me that some of these technologies make for “dying amid plenty.”

  3. Rob

    Dan – your fogeyness is showing!

    These darn kids and their so-called “blogs” these days — get off my lawn!

    ahem.

    A few points:
    * IM has it’s place – at least at work – as a less intrusive/disruptive phone call, that is more immediate than an email.

    * SMS also has a place (at a minimum) in area’s of low reception. As well – it’s polite to the people standing around you (perhaps on a train), and allow asynchronous messages (ie – I can write to my wife and she can read it on her breaks at work!). Are none of those compelling at all to you? At least comapred to a call?

    * As for facebook / Social Networking et al.. I’m not very impressed with “society of autistics, lacking the basic communications skills that define us as human”. Who are you comparing here? Social Networking / Internet / etc are steps in a POSITIVE direction. Look at the majority of your age peers TV consumption habits! Spending 2 hours/day on facebook – writing notes, chatting with people, etc is surely a better use of time than TV.

    Some more thoughts:
    — Don’t discount the event management tools that sites like facebook provide.. Organising a party/outing/dinner/meetup is much easier on FB than having to call everyone and arange a time – net result – easier=more often! Internet connections driving real life experiences.
    — As for twitter – you give an example of taking out the trash.. How about a prayer request for a friend who’s slipped and hurt their ankle? Short != inane.

    • Rob,

      Comments:

      My experience is that many business communications fail because of the low transmission of info inherent in communications sent without a personal presence. John Locke notes this well in his book. We communicate far less info, info that may indeed be critical to understanding context and importance, when we choose digital communications over personal. In other words, while the phone call may be more “disruptive,” it communicates a wealth of info that email, IM, and others cannot. My own experience is that one phone call of two minutes can clear up ten pages of miscommunicated emails that took up two hours of response time. In truth, the low signal to noise ratio on digital communication wastes more time and creates more problems than older forms of communication. (For more on this as it exemplified by Powerpoint presentations, please see this link.)

      My 15-year-old niece spends hours a day texting her friends—who live a block away. The last time I saw her, she was a non-entity, even though we shared the same room for hours. Why? Because she was texting the whole time. This normally vibrant girl checked out. The old Zombies tune “She’s Not There” came to mind. This is not a good thing, on any level.

      Check out the Locke book and see whether the social networking thing we’re obsessed with is actually reducing rather than enhancing our level of communication, weakening our social fabric rather than strengthening it. As I noted, Joe Myers has said that fewer and fewer people are capable of entering someone else’s house without feeling uncomfortable. I offer that our sitting behind keyboards typing rather than interacting face-to-face is partly to blame for this loss. And it is a loss.

      Event management tools ARE a faster way of getting the work done, but have you asked what is lost when we don’t arrange things old school? You end up not talking with people you call about the party about incidentals in their lives. Your online party announcement gets to the point, but all the side communication that would ordinarily occur in an old-fashioned phone call is lost. Same goes for the Twitter stuff.

      You can’t replace the more personal responses without losing something valuable.

      And remember the incarnation, too!

  4. If these technologies are making it possible for people to do less, then isn’t that a problem we need to address?

    How do we address it though, by saying that the technology is bad? Because again, the technology isn’t bad. As much as it makes it possible for people to do less it also makes it possible to do more. Again, a people problem, not a tech problem.

    From another perspective, don’t these technologies force people to make assumptions? For instance, if I seethat someone has a huge network of friends on Facebook, doesn’t that make for assumptions that the person will be cared for in a time of need, an assumption that may not be true? Doesn’t the illusion of the Facebook friend page make it possible for someone to have an appearance of popularity that never extends to reality? What good is it if I have a 1,000 friends on facebook but none stop by my home? It seems to me that some of these technologies make for “dying amid plenty.

    I don’t know that anyone is forced to make assumptions. People will always make assumptions though and you’re right, I suppose that would be an easy one to make. If you do have 1,000 FB friends and none in close proximity then that is again not a problem with FB. These technologies arose to fill a purpose. The NYT article said as much. People were already sharing this sort of info, it’s just now there is a better way to do it. Twitter and the like were created so that people could blog in a mobile fashion or just squirt out quick ideas.

    I think my assumption (and it is an assumption) is that if you’re a lonely person who is reaching out to the internet for friends and you don’t find any “real friends” that will help you in a time of need then even if the tech didn’t exist you won’t necessarily be forced to reach out to your neighborhood. And if you do find real friends (and I have) then you’re better off.

    I do think this is a good discussion to have and I do think that there are people that misuse this tech just as there will always be folks that misuse anything in creation. That doesn’t make it the tech’s fault. This all sounds a bit like saying (and pardon me if this isn’t the best analogy) like saying, since you can use flash animation to make porn then you all flash animation is bad.

    • Scott,

      Does technology allow us to do more all the time? I suspect that in many cases technology forces us to do less, consuming more of our time in paying for it and maintaining it than what it allows us. Read the book Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology and let me know what you think.

      If you fall into a well, a stepstool will take you up a couple feet, but what you really need is a large ladder. Our problem on this issue is that we gave fallen down a well socially and we’re using the stepstools of tech social networking tools to replace the ladder we really need. Worse, the stepstool deceives us into thinking we’re getting somewhere when we’re not. If the water rises in the well, we’re just as drowned with the stepstool as we are without.

      The Church needs to offer the ladder in place of the stepstool.

  5. Dan, do you feel the same frustration over the absence of nonverbal communication in handwritten letters? If so, then you’ve got a point. If not, then you’re playing the “old curmudgeon.” 😉

    • Travis,

      Letters provide something that email, IM, and the others do not. There is an intentionality in a handwritten letter that is missing in electronic versions. The letter contains the personality of the person writing contained in their own handwriting, something completely lacking in electronic communications.

      No, a handwritten letter does not communicate one’s person as well as a phone call or an in-person visit. But the intentionality of letter creation and the reality that a letter is directed to one person rather than a Facebook News Feed carries with it more power.

      • That’s simply not true. Intentionality is motive, and while it can be encouraged or discouraged by the medium, it is not inherent to the medium.

        Drums and syncopated rhythm have their places in Sunday morning public worship, and IM/SMS/Twitter/Facebook have their places in interpersonal communication. It’s ignorant to argue otherwise.

        Dan, you feel comfortable picking up on non-verbal cues in face-to-face interactions. Good for you! Those of us who use tools like Twitter are merely engaging in a different sort of metacommunication. I dont “shout” at everybody to look at my pictures or listen to my thoughts on OS X’s latest security update—and neither are any of my “friends” in these networks—rather, I add those little things to “the conversation” (singular) because of their aggregate value. Individually, they’re essentially meaningless… but cumulatively, over time, they provide a context which adds depth to everything else I say and do on the Internet.

        It’s just a part of how people interact in the Petabyte Age.

        But it’s not some newfangled thing, really. This micro/aggregate approach to interpersonal communication is a way that we communicate over, under, around and through our communication. Like I said, metacommunication: just like handwriting, and inflection, and pitch, and hand gestures, and that goofy thing I do with my eyebrows, and…

        The thing that’s so confusing to you, I think, is that we’re doing something odd: we’re metacommunicating with what looks like communication. You come from the remnants of an age where text was still something to mull over, and thus where words were to be chosen thoughtfully and carefully. Ours is now a world where text is fast, cheap and abundant, so we can “afford” to be prodigal with our usage.

        And don’t let appearances fool you: “wat u doin l8r” is neither sloppy nor lazy; it’s an entirely new variant of shorthand that teenagers themselves have created! Let that sink in for a minute: a centuries-old method of writing abandoned by your own generation is experiencing a renaissance thanks to a bunch of punk 15-year-old nieces! Sometimes it’s all a matter of how you look at it.

        I typically agree with you, Dan, but in this case I think you just plain don’t get it. You old fogey. 😉

        • Travis,

          Some forms of communication demand more of one’s person, therefore all intentionality is not equal. Some intentionality is more intentional than others. It’s one reason I dropped your wife and you a note in the mail rather than e-mail you. It means more because it asks more of me.

          Something has to give because there are only so many hours in a day. If most of our communication is metacommunication, what happens to the old-fashioned kind of communication? What happens to a group of friends chewing the fat on the front porch on a lazy summer evening? Where does that vanish to? You and I both know that it’s vanishing. And those subtle forms of communication that metacommunication cannot replace are vanishing along with it.

          • I’m sorry, Dan, but I have to continue to disagree. A generic one- or two-sentence “thank you” card in the mail doesn’t mean nearly as much to me as a three-paragraph e-mail updating me on the person’s life—or being able to see how the family’s doing via daily Facebook status updates.

            True, something has to give—but for introverts such as myself, it’s passive entertainment (a.k.a. television) and “alone time.” They’re being replaced by what feels like a “never-ending text-based cocktail party.” You don’t want to come to our party? You want to sit on your porch all evening and have the full attention of only one or two people? (And you say our gathering is narcissistic!) 😉

            The “social web” helps introverts interact with other people, plain and simple. You (a self-confessed “hyperextrovert”) complaining about it is like a dude with two working legs complaining about the wheelchair ramps outside of the Post Office.

            • Travis,

              Ouch!

              Perhaps the ideal is for the introvert to develop more extroverted tendencies through the good old methods of the past while the extrovert needs to know how to better withdraw socially at the right time.

          • (Please don’t take that remark personally—I’ve never been excited about greeting cards in any shape or form. Letters, sure… but not greeting cards.)

            “Perhaps the ideal is for the introvert to develop more extroverted tendencies through the good old methods of the past…”

            Dan, don’t you get it? They never worked for us. That’s kinda the whole reason why we’re labeled “social misfits” or “social outcasts” to begin with.

            Here’s the thing: for centuries, extroverts had systems of communication they excelled at. Now introverts have finally developed a system they feel at home with—a new form that doesn’t come as easy for all y’all extroverts—and your response is to call for its death. But who made extroverts the judges, juries and executioners of communication tools?

            As to “the good old methods of the past”… Ecclesiastes 7:10 comes to mind. As does Mark 2:22.

            But most importantly, you should have listened to your dad: Aerosmith’s “music” is pathetic compared to anything by Dmitri Shostakovich. 😀

  6. John Burns

    Hi Dan,

    I don’t post very often, but I do read your blog regularly. I agree completely with you analysis. I would like to suggest one point for your consideration: Technology is not going away. The Amish have realized this. Yet, they have somehow managed to continue in the “lifestyle” that they believe enhances their relationships with each other and with the Lord. Question: “How now shall we live?”

  7. David Riggins

    I don’t think that technology “causes” changes in patterns of behavior; technology simply makes those changes possible. It’s up to us to determine whether we will change or not. Thoreau was right when he said we have to live deliberately.

    We live in the age of convenience, and you’d better believe that our sin nature will make the most of the time. Whether we twitter, tube, IM, google, skipe or text, we need to do so with the purpose of advancing the kingdom. Anything else is self-centered and “unprofitable”.

    I personally see no difference between hand-writing a letter and typing an e-mail, if it is done deliberately. Frankly, too many of us do not keep a watch on what we say, whether electronically or otherwise. Again, sin will attempt to make the most of the occasion, and there is simply more to be made through an off-hand IM message than if we sit down and deliberately write something, whether via keyboard or quill.

    “Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No” I believe has to do with speaking deliberately and measuring our words. Whether those words are communicated by electrons or by our breath makes no difference. But ask yourself: How much harder is it to keep a watch on your tongue if you communicate in so many different ways?

  8. Jerald

    Dan,
    I think that you and Scott and Rob ought to get together over a cup of ‘something’ and hash this out.
    Then report on your blog what happened. The only condition is that none of you can take your computer or cell phone to the meeting.
    I know, I know – that’s a little much . . . but wouldn’t that condition solidify your argument?
    I love reading your blog, Dan, but I think it would be really cool to hear you speak in person.
    Blessings…

  9. Diane R

    While I tend to agree with your assessment of Facebook, et. al. I have to take exception to your IM rant. For shut-ins it can be a life saver and for shy people it can their first step in relating to people. I have met Christians all over the world in Christian chat rooms, forums, blogs and email discussion lists. Some of these have become my IM friends too; some as long as 11 years. And a few I have been able to meet in person.

    For 6 years I took care of my bedriiden mother all by myself and could not really leave. I couldn’t even go to chruch. Most of my friends had left the area. Since I am a social being, the IM and Christian chat rooms (the good ones) really saved me. So, now that I can get out, I have the best of both worlds. I have my Internet friends who I talk to on IM and my new friends in teh real world.

    Wouldn’t it be nice Dan, for you to talk in IM to some of your loyal readers? Email is alright but it’s slow. You really get to know people and their thoughts in IM. I absolutely love it! And, a some of the posts I write on my blog I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t spent time in IM with Christians from around the world to find out what is hapening in their churches and how it is affecting them.

    I’m going to make you a believer yet…LOL….:)

        • Scott,

          We have to reconsider what comprises a vibrant community. Genuine community is what these social networking sites are attempting to emulate, albeit poorly.

          1. We need to consider alternative living and working situations.
          2. We must break down the wall of privacy that we’ve erected. (I am to be open to my brother in Christ and he with me.)
          3. We must discover each other’s gifts and encourage them.
          4. We must hold community in higher stature than we do.
          5. We must teach our children that community matters.

          I could give specifics here, but if you’ve read enough of this blog, you should probably already know my solutions.

          • “Genuine community is what these social networking sites are attempting to emulate, albeit poorly.”

            Okay see I disagree with your base premise here. (And if you feel like we’re going in circles, let me know.) I don’t know that the point of these sites is to emulate “genuine community”. For most folks I know, myself included, they are a supplement to community. I will grant you that if all folks are doing is im’ing, or posting one liners on Facebook, or commenting on blogs there isn’t much depth. So again you may have a point, but that’s again in the usage of these tools and not the tools themselves.

            So your fixes (all of which my church is doing in addition to using facebook and podcasting and blogging and if I had my way twitter) are wonderful but don’t need to replace the social media toolkit. They need to have a place above it, but no sense in throwing social media out entirely.

            • Scott,

              I disagree. I believe these social network sites replace more personal communication, especially face-to-face. they have an appearance of connecting with people, but all too often they usurp that role.

            • Adam,

              If you have ten slots to put items and you have eleven items, something can’t be filed. Worse, if the perception is that the eleventh item is slicker than item ten, then item ten gets the boot and item eleven is installed.

              Something is always lost.

  10. Hi Dan:

    I think you and I are around the same age, and I too am baffled by the whole texting phenomenon- the only explanation for its appeal I can think of is that maybe people derive pleasure out of sending out their “secret” messages to one another– like when I used to play with “walkie-talkies” as a kid. I would still think that phoning someone if you’ve got something to say is more personal and efficient (yet I resisted having a cell phone until recently).

    I also share some of your privacy reservations about Facebook. Yet I have used such tools to try to network with people I’ve met, esp. through blogging and internet interaction– people I may never meet face-to-face, but with whom I still share Christian affinities.

    But when Facebook asks me to write “What I am doing” now I may put answer “Alex is doing what I was doing before, if you’re really interested (but I suspect you’re not).”

    So I agree we ought not to let it replace the face-to-face but I think used carefully these modern technologies may help us befriend people that we don’t (often because of proximity) interact with face-to face.

    Grace,

    Alex

    • Alexander,

      While I strongly believe that Christians should be completely open with brothers and sisters in Christ, I don’t believe the same holds true for us and the society at large. I think the less Christians share their info publicly, the better. Too much stuff can be used against us.

      Google is like the elephant that never forgets. I try to be careful what I share online because a simple Googling will bring up all sorts of stuff. If we are not careful what we share online, it will most definitely be used against us at some point. That’s another reason why we should be wise with what we share. Unfortunately, people don’t practice this in social networking sites and they will pay for it some time in the future.

      When Google bought the old Remarq database that held archived Usenet postings, stuff I never thought would go further than Usenet (and had expired, at that) suddenly became searchable. Search engines (and the Web for that matter) didn’t exist when I wrote those things. Now they are permanent. And while they are relatively harmless writings, people might still use them in malicious ways.

      Privacy is a big issue on the Web. Your surfing is being logged. Your search engine inquiries are cataloged. Everything you write is available to others. People who ignore those realities will get burned.

  11. Dave Block

    With each step forward in technology, the reach and ease of communication grow and the depth decreases.
    In person — PRO: direct and personal. CON: audience limited and one or both must travel to interact.
    Letter — PRO: more convenient, no travel required, communicates measure of effort to recipient, message can be read later. CON: less personal than face-to-face interaction, no body language and tone can be misinterpreted.
    Phone — PRO: more convenient, no travel required, communication is faster than writing and takes place in real time. CON: less personal, no body language, often less thought is put into communication
    Email — PRO: even more convenient, no travel required, communication is faster than writing and outgoing end takes place in real time, message can be read later, no stamp required, free accounts available. CON: even less personal (no handwriting to read or tone to hear), no body language, messages can be rushed
    Facebook, Twitter, etc. — PRO: reach much wider audience, etc. CON: much less personal, etc.

    There are benefits and disadvantages at every level. I prefer personal interaction, but I can’t deny the possibilities opened up by technology.

    Dan, doesn’t your blog undercut your argument? Surely it would be much more personal/relational to deliver your commentaries to folks in person, but you use the Internet because you can reach many more people this way, and we can and do interact with each other as an online community.

    Facebook has brought me back in contact with people with whom I hadn’t communicated for 20 years ago or even longer. That does nothing to keep me and my wife from regularly spending time with believers and nonbelievers in our home and theirs.

    In short, the issue isn’t whether the technology is inherently bad, but rather whether those who use it do so to the exclusion of more personal interaction.

    • Dave,

      At issue here is not so much the technology, whose pros and cons you’ve done a fine job highlighting, but the more foundational issue that people are disconnected, know they are disconnected, and are using inferior means to attempt to connect. It is a social problem. not really a technological one.

      The other problem is one of focus. The focus of so many of these tech connections is on the individual. It is not on a group or on a purpose that exists apart from the individual. Facebook does one thing: It gives a person a page to call attention to himself or herself. Period. There’s something disconcerting in that.

      So in that case, your query as to how Cerulean Sanctum is any different hinges on that distinction. This blog is not about me. Its purpose is not to call attention to Dan Edelen, but to serve as a means to disseminate information that will help people recognize issues facing the Church and discuss how to fix them.

      Do I occasionally talk about myself? Sure, but in most cases that’s as a means to drive the primary function.

  12. loneman

    no Dan –
    it doesn t rebut that at all.
    First – the NYT has a very dark agenda. And supports the masterwork of Satan to create a kind of masses, who ‘s uncounsciousness is blank – or better, is made to be blank, in order to be steered by jis impulses.

    And this inhuman way of functioning through technique is perfect to realize that state.

    Talk, no matter about what – as long He s not involved.

  13. I don’t believe the same holds true for us and the society at large. I think the less Christians share their info publicly, the better. Too much stuff can be used against us.

    That makes no sense to me.

  14. loneman

    dear Dan,

    – well,
    I m sorry, if I was not clear; and tell me, if Im wrong –
    but we tend to understand human as a total capable and sensible thinking creature. While in fact, there are several ‘levels ‘of functioning. Several consciousnesses.

    Satan is interested in just one thing – to seperate the spirit of the human from His Spirit. That would mean, that he tries to play upon the mind of man; to fill it so much with ‘impulses ‘, that the soul of man learns to only digest and listen to impulses.

    There is a consciousness in man, the reflex, what origionally was ment to react in times of danger. Now, this same consciousness is degraded to ‘ reflection ‘.
    Watching TV is a good example of this.
    All impulses are being digested directly; without the soul having to fight over interpretation – it is without depth, without dimension, and therefore not translucent. It is without spirit, or faith.
    Basicly, this ‘reflex ‘doesn t differ from a computer.

    The past decades, all the gimmicks as cellphones, gaming, tv, etc were a genious trick of Satan to develop this vegetative, reflecting consciousness.
    It won t take too long, before – because of the global change in consciousness ( new age what is coming ), will perfectly fit into this
    ‘state of mind ‘ – litterally.

    And voila: there is the human soul; entrapped in a mind, OWNED by Satan, and totally dependent on whatever impulse Satan is giving to it ( via the nerves ).
    There will be no need for drugs or alcohol no more, because the ‘impulses ‘of ( imprisoned but not realizing) blissfullness will be
    as if ‘ in the atmosphere ‘.

    This is the dark agenda. And youth is stimulated and encouraged in the newest traps of voluntary imprisonment of soul…

    forgive if I wrote complicated; it s not my native

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