Is ‘change’ the same as ‘ruin’, as the infographic below might suggest? It is certainly the contention of Nicholas Carr in his book The Shallows, and some other commentators, that our brains are being rewired by the Web and social media, and not always in a good way.
However, as Len Sweet points out in his excellent forthcoming new book (publication date March 13) Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival - when the printing press was invented, some Christians opposed it believing it would inhibit people from memorizing stuff. Which perhaps it did, but it unlocked communication and learning for the millions, the Renaissance, Reformation, and modern missions movement.
Anyway, we are where we are. Older readers will recall similar concerns two generations ago about the insidious effects of TV. Our task is to manage our media, not let it control us. And more than that, realise its huge potential for the Kingdom. Check Internet Evangelism Day’s page about using Facebook and mobile phones to share the good news, and other blog posts about social networking.
There are strategies we can use to reduce distraction so we can stay focused on one thing at a time. See How to Deal with Distractions in a Web Worker’s World. Leave Skype switched off if you have not pre-arranged a call. Disable instant messengers including Facebook. Disable any audible alerts of new emails. Hey, even switch your wifi/network connection off for writing projects. There are even software solutions and browser add-ons that you can set to prevent access to certain time-wasting sites (eg. Farmville, or Facebook entirely) within your choice of time limits. You can also use software to limit children’s time online (or using the computer at all) within preset limits, so they can do other things vital to their development. Like playing, sport, reading.
Please add your thoughts in the comment section below. How do you combat distractions? Set limits for children? Use social media for conversation-starting? Have you developed an outsider-friendly integrated web/digital media strategy for your church?