Friday, 24 May 2013

Online Habits

Lately, I've been doing a bit of thinking about online presence. What do you go online for and why? Here are my top ten reasons for going online:

  1. For information - (a) Local. 'Where's the nearest shop that will sell a sink plunger?' And (b)Things I know Nothing About. 'What's a nano-sim adapter?'
  2. It's a place to put my thoughts and, more than that, force me to discipline them and begin to get them into some kind of initial order - the Blogpost.
  3. For friendship - a place to keep in touch with some of my friends whom I don't see all the time. Lots of meetings arise from just knowing X is in the vicinity or Y is working on the same issue.
  4. For encouragement - messages from friends, prayers, thoughts, aphorisms and jokes at times of celebration or crisis.
  5. To read the Bible. Much easier to do it online than from a book. Cross referencing, finding a text, story or character, accessing commentaries while reading, all so much easier to do.
  6. The tyranny of the email. This is a mixed blessing. So good to be able to set up a meeting or get a quick answer. But not so good when you have 75 quick answers to give before tea!
  7. For recipes. I've only got 6 green peppers, some cheese, 1 sweet potato, some ice cream and a tin of anchovies. What can I cook?
  8. iplayer and youtube. Being able to relax watching something I'm really interested in rather than the latest repeat of a detective story that happens to be on ITV3.
  9. A place to store my photos and even make them look better than they really are.
  10. A place to get news and perspectives from other cultures - India, USA, and West Africa especially interesting for me.
Is there a top ten for not going online? Well:
  1. It's addictive. An hour can pass in 3 minutes.
  2. Medical conditions! Never look them up unless you want the worst case scenario straight off.
  3. The inaccuracy of some information - not always easy to spot if it's not your field. Same caution required as when reading the tabloid press. What is the source?
  4. Making errors of judgement that go viral or get recorded for posterity. Never go online if very tired, angry or after more than 2 glasses of wine.
  5. Using the internet as a substitute for getting out and meeting people. If you are doing this you may have a problem...and you certainly will have a problem if you carry on.
  6. Talking about work. Don't do it! Employers may read Facebook and blogs or Google you.
  7. To discuss people or give personal comments about people. A good guide here is, 'Would I like it if someone said that kind of thing about me?'
  8. To share something I would mind if someone else took up and shared or adapted in ways I didn't expect. Eg. my own poem or someone else's carefully crafted words or image that I have not acknowledged.
  9. To look for real empathy or deep insight. Computers don't do empathy and, ultimately, some form of AI is controlling what you access.
  10. To say something you know you should say face to face. (Unless you are on another continent...but even then, beware!)
I was very interested in Nick Morgan's recent blogpost (15th May) on the Big Bible Project blog, in which he reflects on the question, 'where do we find online those things that do not constantly evolve but which call us back to our core essence as Christians?' He calls these things 'anti-memes' - like the Songs of the Old Testament that call the people back to God in times of struggle and rejoicing, he says, these are the things that do not evolve but still resound through time. 'The Christian anti-meme is not a website, a set of Christian resources or any 'place to be' online. We are the anti-memes......let's keep singing the song which calls people to God.' Very well worth a read.

The BigBible is a project sponsored by CODEC at Durham University promoting Christian Communication in the Digital Age. 
Nick Morgan's own blog All We Like Sheep can be found at

No comments:

Post a Comment