Julia's Reviews > Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith

Flickering Pixels by Shane Hipps
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Dec 06, 10

bookshelves: religious
Read in December, 2010

This is a great, informative read. The author is attempting to apply insights about media & technology to some basic issues of our faith & life. He talks about how the exclusivity of personal information creates the conditions of intimacy. That intimacy is preserved in that relationship as long as the information remains exclusive. The moment it is available to anyone and everyone (such as on Facebook) is the moment intimacy begins to evaporate.

"The internet has a natural bias toward exhibitionism and thus the erosion of real intimacy. There is nothing exclusive about it, yet it creates, paradoxically, a kind of illusion of intimacy with people we've never met or hardly know.This is the phenomenon or anonymous intimacy - the feeling of a relationship, but one that hasn't been, and likely never will be, face to face."

I can't say it better than the author, so I am quoting..."This anonymous intimacy has a strange effect. It provides just enough connection to keep us from pursuing real intimacy. In a virtual community, our contacts involve very little risk and demand even less of us personally. Vulnerability is optional. A community that promises freedom from rejection and makes authentic emotional investment optional can be extremely appealing, remarkably efficient and a lot more convenient."

"Virtual community is infinitely more virtual than it is communal. It's a bit like cotton candy; It goes down easy and satiaes our immediate hunger, but it doesn't provide much in the way of sustainable nutrition. Not only that, but our appetite is spoiled. We no longer feel the need to participate in authentic community, because it involves high degrees of intimacy, permanence and proximity....."

I know many of us are "addicted" to virtual community because it is so convenient. Our interactions with people are efficient and allow us to keep in touch more often. Is there a difference, though, in keeping in touch and truly connecting with others?

A personal example happened about a 1 1/2 years ago, when I found out on Facebook that my neice was engaged to be married. That day I felt I had lost some personal intimacy with my sister. Why couldn't she have phoned me to tell me the good news, the important family news? And since I don't frequent Facebook on a daily basis, when I read this news, it was already 2 weeks old. What has that taught me? It hurts to talk about it.
This book is worth owning and definitely reading!
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Well-written review, Julie. Sounds like a good book to sit and talk about over a glass of wine. I often discuss these very issues with our children. My sense is that they feel I don't know how to smartly navigate this stuff because I'm from the older generation with a different mindset; that what I think are issues really aren't troublesome.

Certainly I email, text and gchat and love the convenience, but nothing can replace the comfort and joy of sitting around a friend's kitchen table, candlelight flickering, conversation flowing as the evening turns to night.


Julia You had me at "glass of wine!" How could anyone disagree with your discription of truly connecting with a friend. I love the picture you paint.

Even though I use a computer daily in my job and personally, I still feel like technology is moving at such a fast past in development that I am left in the dust. What will it be like in 20 years from now?


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