RNS: Author worries online communities are hurting real ones

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When it comes to Facebook, Jesse Rice sees an immensely popular social networking site that's great for sharing photos and keeping in touch with friends.

He also sees something that encourages attitudes and behaviors that don't work as well in real life.

Rice, 37, is the author of "The Church of Facebook: How the Hyperconnected Are Redefining Community." A former worship leader an evangelical megachurch in California, he has degrees in organizational communication and counseling/psychology and -- just as important to his readers -- a sense of humor.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingPsychologyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

Posted January 31, 2010 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Sarah wrote:


I’ve never had the apocalyptic feelings or beliefs about the online world.

My own observation is that people become *more* of what they already are.

RE: “Rice has seen people give up on “embodied relationships” because they feel freer on Facebook. “People do argue that there’s a richness to relationships online,” he says. But it could be that they don’t know what they’re missing. “We don’t feel that hunger anymore.”

I don’t think people “give up on” face to face, so much as, if they are already shy and anti-social, find more of an outlet online rather than face-to-face.  Personally, I’ve met far far far more people *face to face* because of being online than I ever would have otherwise.  And this was before I started blogging too.  Online communities allow you to “herd” with others—find others whom you never would have found—and then connect with them in “real life” too.

Can’t help but bring up Anglican blogs.  We would never have all connected without them.  I would *never* have had occasion to meet Kendall Harmon without his blog and without the catastrophic occurrences of the past 7 years.

And the result of all of that was that I have been down in the lower diocese far far more than I would have been otherwise—at events and conferences, meetings, speaking.  Never would have happened without 1) the TEC progressive activists and 2) online communities.

January 31, 11:31 am | [comment link]
2. Sarah wrote:

I should add that online has also been a boon for those who are extremely shy and don’t connect easily in real time.  It’s a blessing for people to be able to connect online and make the transition easier to meeting face to face if that happens.  And if it doesn’t—hey, at least the very introverted get to connect virtually rather than simply huddle alone at their house.

I think those who complain about “less face to face interaction” are those who think that shoving very introverted people into a room full of people will help them “make connections.”  But that usually works for extroverts—less so for very shy people.

January 31, 11:33 am | [comment link]
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