Monday, August 10, 2009

Online Networking

On Monday, August 3, 2009 the UK Archbishop allegedly criticized Facebook. Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service UNITED KINGDOM (ANS) reported the Archbishop believes that social networking websites, texting and e-mails are undermining community life.

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, according to Ireland, is Archbishop Vincent Nichols who said MySpace and Facebook lead young people to seek "transient" friendships, with quantity becoming more important than quality. Reporting on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC),Nichols concluded a key factor in suicide among young people was the trauma caused when such loose relationships collapsed.

"Friendship is not a commodity," the Archbishop told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, adding: "Friendship is something that is hard work and enduring when it's right." He insisted society is losing some of its ability to build communities through inter-personal communication, as the result of excessive use of texts and e-mails rather than face-to-face meetings or telephone conversations.

Nichols said skills such as reading a person's mood and body language were in decline, and that exclusive use of electronic information had a "dehumanizing" effect on community life. He further suggested that social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace encouraged a form of communication that was not in his words "rounded," and would not therefore build rounded communities.

Thus, the churchman further warned of the danger of suicide among young people who threw themselves into a network of friendships that could easily collapse. He said young people were being encouraged to build up collections of friends as commodities, and were left desolate when these transient relationships broke down. "Facebook and MySpace might contribute towards communities, but I'm wary about it," he told the newspaper.

I’m not a sympathizer of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, but I fully agree with the Archbishop. One has only to observe the process. I became aware of it when I started being put on hold so someone that called me could take an incoming call while I twiddled my thumbs (or hung up). Better to hang up and say getting another call is more important than talking to me ... better to call back than just leave me dangling. I’m sorry, but I call that rudeness and shallowness ... misplaced values.

Such networking sites have much going for them, but they also encourage a tendency to amass “friendships” (networks) a mile wide and an inch deep. There is a place for such sites, but with them should come the recognition of awareness that there are negative side effects and we need to use with discretion and properly-placed values.

From Warner’s World,

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