Meditations (Web)Church

A year (and a bit) in the life of NewSpring's first Web pastor

People who diss social networks are hypocrites

with 6 comments

In our guts, a lot of folks, including church folks, want to believe this might be true: Social networks do not deepen friendships.

It’s time to stop confusing the limits of our technology with the limits of our hearts.

We’ve got this incredible bias toward face-to-face interaction.

Maybe it’s the research that shows body language is anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of all communication.

Maybe it’s because we’ve all got a Frankenstein complexthat we will become our technology.

Here’s the thing: The research from Sheffield Hallam University came to this conclusion:

“Although the numbers of friends people have on these sites can be massive, the actual number of close friends is approximately the same in the face to face real world,”

Can we all just agree that there are tons of superficial relationships, perhaps more, offline as there are online?

Don’t we brush past our neighbors when we come home?

We know they are there. Their physical presence, you might say, is like a status update.

But how often does knowing something about them, being aware of them, lead us to have a conversation? Let alone a second. Or a third. Or a fourth.

Don’t we practically ignore hundreds of people every single day?

Social networks are like cities.

Our friends are tied to our daily, walking-around lives.

But in cities, we’re always surrounded by a multiplicity of chance encounters — or at least the opportunities for them. Sometimes, we’re bold and go someplace and do something new and make some new friends.

Most of the time we don’t. But we love to know we can. And we secretly always want to.

Social networks engineer opportunity. Just like cities do. They make it easier to manage the cost and the risk-reward ratio of making friends.

Not only are social networks not so bad. They may actually be more good.

You might actually make more friends and more of the right friends in the human, hard-wired ways we always develop the bonds of friendship. Maybe?

Social networking is just a technology. It gives us expression. It doesn’t give us life.

Maybe that belies the secret depravity of our hearts: We want life. But we are looking to the God of the machine for it. Instead of God.

What say you?

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Written by NickCharalambous

December 2, 2008 at 12:10 pm

6 Responses

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  1. I like the idea of it being a city. Hadn’t thought about it that way before. Good post.

    Patrick Moore

    December 4, 2008 at 11:03 am

  2. […] One guy sees it this way… […]

  3. I like how you compare social networks to individual cities. Xbox Live stats have shown that its population is greater than that of New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago combined. How’s that for a City? Love the posts man. Keep it up!

    I posted on my blog and referenced this blog post here:
    Technology and The Church 2.0

    Joseph Rampey

    December 10, 2008 at 10:21 pm

  4. […] Charalambous, NewSpring Church Internet Pastor, posted on “People who diss social networks are hypocrites” and related the facebook network to a city. I have never thought of it in that way before […]

  5. […] do I ask? Because the same research study about online friendship that made me conclude that people who hate social networks are hypocritesalso said that online friendship — and by extension community – is fundamentally about […]

  6. […] People who diss social networks are hypocrites […]


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