networking: virtual vs. actual (part two)

continuing the conversation about the pros and cons of social networking…

i understand that things have changed, and i stipulate to the fact that teens would rather text than talk on their cell phones.  even among members of my generation, the rise of technology has become the bane of civility.  last night, as i hurried through the grocery, i swear that i was the only one not talking on the phone.  we have to be on the phone while grocery shopping?  and i have to wait behind you in line while you blather on mindlessly (and rudely, i might add)?

i contend that the erosion of face-to-face verbal communication is a detriment to our society and a cancer to our kingdom mandate.

in an interesting article in leadership about the use of church space, paul louis metzger writes:

Churches have used technology in various ways, from video recordings of church services to virtual campuses where parishioners can “attend” church from remote locations by watching a live video feed on a computer screen.

But virtual space, like physical space, must be used intentionally—with thought given to how it is forming our people. What difference does a virtual service (through live feed or videotaping) make on the cultivation of community?

While a virtual service has the advantage of increasing the opportunity for reaching a greater number of people with the message, can a virtual space ever replace a physical location and human touch?

in the latest issue of time magazine, nancy gibbs (an amazing writer, by the way) speaks eloquently to this issue in a piece entitled, “the happiness paradox“:

I’m struck by how many people tell pollsters that the voluntary downshifting and downsizing of the past year have come as a kind of relief. Maybe we’ve lowered our standards. But we already knew that money can buy only comfort, not contentment; happiness correlates much more closely with our causes and connections than with our net worth. Americans may have less money — charitable giving in current dollars dropped for the first time in 20 years in 2008 — but about a million more people volunteered their time to a cause. Which makes me wonder: Is it a coincidence that eight of the 10 happiest states in the country also rank in the top 10 for volunteering?

Whatever you make of the psychology of happiness, we know something of its physics. It rises as it ricochets off other people, returning to us stronger by virtue of being released. It gets bigger when we don’t care if it gets smaller; we stopped buying all the stuff we didn’t need that was supposed to make us happier, and we seem to be happier for it. And who would have expected that? (emphasis mine)

i’m not saying that society is going to implode because we’re texting, or that the kingdom is hindered because of facebook.  i am saying, though, that we need to intentionally carve out space in our lives for conversation.  we need to ruthlessly establish, maintain, and protect face time with the people who make our lives richer. 

if we don’t, something within us will atrophy and die. 

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2 thoughts on “networking: virtual vs. actual (part two)

  1. Hi Randy. I like your analysis of this subject, in fact I think the subject itself is fascinating. I heard a man state in a seminar on time management/effectiveness etc that due to the internet, emails and cell phones people today are dealing with 80 times more information on a daily basis than they were in 1975. That seminare was in 2001. I remember being amazed by the statistic (couldn’t tell you the source of his information but it is logical to me that the number is pretty acurate). I believe pretty strongly that this phenamena (virtual vs actual and the amount of information being dealt with individually via the virtual)is having a pretty severe adverse affect on people. I love Nancy Gibbs quote “It rises as it ricochets off other people, returning to us stronger by virtue of being released.” I think she is right on. I certainly feel personally that “these” issues have contributed to me feeling at times that I’m in somewhat of a fight for sanity. I know there are other factors but to discount the “virtual” factor is a mistake.

    Miss visiting with you. Let’s have coffee next week. Love you….btw…..belated happy birthday….

  2. Pingback: innovation vs. influence « your best life later

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