Showing posts with label Social Media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social Media. Show all posts

Friday, June 16, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: The Surveillance State

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

CNET reports that the Chinese government is now using surveillance cameras, facial recognition and smart glasses to score people on their social behavior.

Tom: Mariel Myers says, “China plans to give all of its 1.4 billion citizens a personal score, based on how they behave.” Not ten years down the road, or even five, but next year. The technology is already up and running. Get a low enough score, and you could be publicly shamed or denied all sorts of privileges.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Real or Not Real?

The following quote purports to come from a 2020 Facebook post written by a woman who holds herself out to be the Handbell Choir Director at First Congregational Church of Houston, Artistic Director at Houston Chamber Ringers and a former music teacher.

Honestly, my first instinct is that it’s got to be the product of internet trolling.

Friday, December 02, 2022

Too Hot to Handle: E-dification

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

In case you’ve never seen it before, TL;DR is internet shorthand for “too long, didn’t read”. Its existence and very common usage online points to a problem for Christians seeking to communicate the truth of God to others through technology, which is that we are often working with a very short window of attention.

Tom: There is little point in us bemoaning reduced attention spans, Immanuel Can: they are a reality among millennials, and if we want to speak for God in the current environment, we’re going to have to learn to deal.

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

What Makes a Church a Church?

Asked in an online forum last week: Is our social media community a church?

Interesting question, and one that almost nobody would have posed with any degree of seriousness prior to COVID. But if you think lurking in a Zoom meeting is “gathering” in anything remotely approximating the biblical sense (and apparently many Christians do), then it’s not unreasonable to ask how far you might take the concept of virtual church.

Naturally, a spate of comments followed.

Friday, July 08, 2022

Too Hot to Handle: Where Do You Get Your News?

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Millennials are among the most flat-out gullible people I have ever encountered. For the most part, they wouldn’t know truth if it smacked them upside the head. Their manipulators and peers circulate fiction as fact on social media 24/7. They mistrust everyone except those they should.

Older folks still watch the six o’ clock news and have newspaper subscriptions. They grew up with media reputed to be fairly trustworthy in an age when the illusion could be reasonably sustained that there existed such a thing as journalistic ethics. Many of these are our fellow believers, people of goodwill for whom the habit of giving others the benefit of the doubt is well ingrained.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Time and Chance (49)

Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon
It is said that every virtue carried to extremes becomes a vice, which is probably true. Every good thing indulged in to excess does much the same.

The previous few verses of Ecclesiastes 10 contrast a kingdom run by self-indulgent drunks and gluttons with a kingdom administered by wise, self-controlled princes and officials who know the proper place for leisure and pleasure in their own lives. Obviously the citizens of the second kingdom will have a better time of it than those of the first. The Preacher then comments that attending to only your own desires rather than the objective needs around you will end in disaster.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: The New Social Engineers

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

In this four minute YouTube video on the subject of gender, race and identity, Douglas Murray has a word to the wise about Google, Facebook and Twitter: Big Social is actively trying to change how you think about these issues through a variety of means, including the results you see when you use a search engine online. Spoiler alert: corporations do not have your best interests at heart.

Tom: It’s rarely an effective strategy to announce to your audience, “Here’s a big plateful of tedious propaganda. Chow down.” Our would-be societal engineers are a little smarter than that, aren’t they, IC?

Friday, March 01, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: The Surveillance State

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Faith, Fear and Prudence

Christians are entering troubled times.

I suspect we are already well on our way into a thick and rather gloomy forest, but because the sunlight has been diminishing only a very little bit with each passing step, some of us have been less attentive than others about exactly how far into the underbrush we really are.

When Alex Jones’ InfoWars was recently deplatformed by Apple, YouTube (Google), Facebook and Spotify, few evangelicals noticed or cared. Most have no idea who Alex Jones is in the first place, and many of those who do recognize the name are still getting their news from CNN or other mainstream sources that despise Jones and his ilk and view them as unwanted and amateurish competition.

In any case, Jones’ speedy purge perturbed few. I would argue we need to start paying a bit more attention.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Recommend-a-blog (28)

Adam Ford is the guy who started the Christian news satire site Babylon Bee. If you’ve missed that so far, well, that’s probably okay, provided you have no sense of humor. If you do, it’s a little bit like having missed Monty Python’s Flying Circus (minus the occasional bout of virulent rudeness) in the early seventies. Except with the Bee, more often than not there’s a sharp spiritual point to go with the guffaws.

Adam sold the Bee a month ago to concentrate on his new project, the Christian Daily Reporter, a plain-Jane news aggregator. CDR is ... well, why don’t I let Adam tell you in his own words?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Commentariat Speaks (8)

TechCrunch editor John Biggs mourns the fact that social media is no longer a place where you can air an opinion without fear of adverse consequences:

“Our errant Twitter thoughts can make us targets and we often don’t know we’re being watched. A prominent writer and friend recently mused about what would happen if he posted some political rants. The first thing that leapt to his readers’ minds was the potential for SWATing and doxing and then a visit from the FBI. Then, as evidenced by the above CEO example, you get fired.

Social media has become a very real, very visceral, and very censorial force and it can now only worsen the human condition.”

Now, none of this is news. Ironically, it’s John Biggs’ fellow Democrat voters who fired the opening salvos in the online equivalent of the nuclear arms race.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: E-dification

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Where Do You Get Your News?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Facebooking from Nazareth

“The worst thing you can do is keep it all inside.” 

“There’s too much inside yourself to keep it all cooped up and restrained.”

This is the sort of advice I encounter daily. You see it too, if you’re looking for it.

Bryant McGill claims 60 million readers and “some of the most shared writings in social media history”. If accurate, that’s a lot of people sharing McGill’s thoughts. A Christian friend of mine passed on one of McGill’s more cringe-worthy bromides on Facebook the other day.