Who in the world isn’t on Facebook?

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From a recent article on the CNN website:

Seriously … at this point, who’s not on Facebook?

Grandmas are commenting on their teen grandkids’ angst-ridden status updates. One of your grade-school teachers wants you to join their mafia.

Candidates for the Planning and Zoning Commission have fan pages. So does actor Will Arnett’s voice. Not Will Arnett. Just his voice.

On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the site hit a half-billion active users.

That’s nearly five times as many people as watched this year’s Super Bowl — the most popular television broadcast ever — and about four times as many people as voted in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

People spend more than 700 billion minutes per month on the site and, according to Facebook, 400 million of them have logged in during the past month. Keep in mind there are only 309 million people in the United States — total.

So, seriously … who’s left?

Read the full article here.

HT: Mark Sayers

The face-to-face gospel and the death of distance

Have a read of this interesting interview with Al Erisman published in the June 2010 issue of The Conversation:

Technology is changing our lives at breakneck speed and in unpredictable ways. In just one decade, for example, the mobile phone has transformed the daily life of virtually every church leader in the world. Technology also changes the way the gospel gets communicated, whether through PowerPoint slides, websites, or screens at multi-site churches. We sought out a man who has decades of practical experience with technology in business—as well as wide and deep thinking about its significance.

Al Erisman spent 32 years at Boeing, and for the last 11 of those years was director of research and development for technology. He now teaches in the business school at Seattle Pacific University and is co-founder and editor of Ethix magazine (Ethix.org). He also consults and lectures on faith and economic development, most recently in the Central African Republic and Nepal. He recently spoke with Global Conversation editor and CT senior writer Tim Stafford.

I think this is a growing area for discussion – how does technology and our contemporary multi-tasking, gadget focussed lifestyles alter and effect the way we communicate the gospel?

Any thoughts?

Read the full article here.

S Korea child ‘starves as parents raise virtual baby’

This tragic story is floating around the blogosphere at the moment – I read about it first on Mark Sayers’ blog earlier today:
Quoting the news article on the BBC website (here):
A South Korean couple who were addicted to the internet let their three-month-old baby starve to death while raising a virtual daughter online, police said.
The pair fed their own premature baby just once a day in between 12-hour stretches at an internet cafe, the official Yonhap news agency reported.
Police officer Chung Jin-won told Yonhap they “lost their will to live a normal life” after losing their jobs.
He said they “indulged themselves online” to escape from reality.
The 41-year-old father and his 25-year-old wife were arrested in the city of Suweon, south of Seoul, earlier this week, five months after they reported the death of their baby.
An autopsy showed her death was caused by a long period of malnutrition.
Also read some thoughts on the tragedy here and here

Frontline: Digital Nation – Life on the virtual frontier

Have a watch of this episode of Frontline, Digital Nation – Life on the Virtual Frontier, about Generation Web and their life in the ‘connected’ world:

“Within a single generation, digital media and the World Wide Web have transformed virtually every aspect of modern culture, from the way we learn and work to the ways in which we socialize and even conduct war. But is the technology moving faster than we can adapt to it? And is our 24/7 wired world causing us to lose as much as we’ve gained?

In Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier, FRONTLINE presents an in-depth exploration of what it means to be human in a 21st-century digital world. Continuing a line of investigation she began with the 2008 FRONTLINE report Growing Up Online, award-winning producer Rachel Dretzin embarks on a journey to understand the implications of living in a world consumed by technology and the impact that this constant connectivity may have on future generations. “I’m amazed at the things my kids are able to do online, but I’m also a little bit panicked when I realize that no one seems to know where all this technology is taking us, or its long-term effects,” says Dretzin”.

Well worth the time and effort to watch – if for no other reason that to understand what it is like for young people today to live in our contemporary wired culture.

Also, if you’re interested and didn’t get a chance to see the Virtual Revolution series of programmes on BBC2 over the last few weeks, check out the website here.

20 years on from the invention of the World Wide Web Dr Aleks Krotoski explores how it is reshaping almost every aspect of our lives. Joined by some of the web’s biggest names including the founders of Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft and the web’s inventor – she explores how far the web has lived up to its early promise.

The founding father of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee, believed his invention would remain an open frontier that nobody could own, and that it would take power from the few and give it to the many. Now, in a provocative, strongly authored argument, presenter Aleks Krotoski will re-assess utopian claims like these, made over many years by the digital revolution’s key innovators – and test them against the hard realities of the emerging Web today, exploring how the possibilities of the pure technology have been constrained, even distorted by the limitations of human nature.

Again, this is a really good series of programmes and well worth the time and effort to watch if you get the chance, especially the last one “Homo Interneticus?”.

These programmes raise a lot of questions for me – not just as a father, but also as a church leader.  How is connectivity changing Generation Web’s capacity to be disciples of Jesus?  How do we need to change the way we ‘do church’ in order to communicate truth to our kids and future generations?

For me, this is challenging stuff, and we can’t ignore it for too long or it will be too late.