Archives For Internet

 

Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

See a book here that you’d like to review for us?
Contact us, and we’ll talk about the possibility of a review.

Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God

By Lauren Winner

Read an interview with the author

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

Continue Reading…

 

Opening the Channels for Deeper, More Integrated Life Together

A Review of

The Definitive-ish Guide For Using Social Media in the Church

Bruce Reyes-Chow

Ebook: Shook Foil Books, 2012.
Buy now:  [ Kindle ] [ Nook ]

Reviewed by C. Christopher Smith

Although it is an introductory guide, pastor and seasoned blogger Bruce Reyes-Chow’s  new  ebook The Definitive-ish Guide For Using Social Media in the Church is certainly a useful tool for getting congregations to explore the possibilities of social media in enriching their shared life.  In reading the ebook, I was reminded of a story that Bill McKibben tells in his recent book EAARTH about a neighborhood in Burlington, VT that – in contrast to the common perception of the Internet as isolating people from their real-life neighbors – has used internet technology to connect neighbors and help them live more integrated lives in their place.  I share Reyes-Chow’s hope that a similar thing can unfold in our church communities.

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“Shaping and Being Shaped

A Review of
The Shallows:
What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.

By Nicholas Carr
.

Reviewed by Jonathan Schindler.

The Shallows:
What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.

By Nicholas Carr
.
Hardback: W.W. Norton, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

THE SHALLOWS - Nicholas CarrIn The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, Nicholas Carr fittingly quotes John Culkin: “We shape our tools, and thereafter they shape us” (210). Culkin’s observation and Carr’s article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” provide the thesis for The Shallows: The Internet is changing us for the worse.

Carr’s argument begins with anecdotal evidence. After frequent Internet use, he suspected that his mind was changing. He could no longer read lengthy articles and books with the same attention he was once able to devote. Was the Internet really causing this?

Carr provides several neurological studies and historical examples to prove the first part of his thesis. The neurological studies were especially fascinating, illustrating “neuroplasticity,” our brain’s ability to adapt to new situations and stimuli. (For example, people who have lost use of one of their senses often have their other senses heightened. The brain rewires itself, forming new connections, so that what was formerly used for the now-dormant sense can be used to boost the other, still-operating senses.) Another aspect of neuroplasticity is that the more an action is performed, the more connections between neurons are formed, and the skill is solidified. Repeated actions form habits, basically. From these more modern studies, Carr moves on to historical examples (the map, clock, and book, as well as others) in which new technologies changed behavior and the way people thought. He paraphrases Marshall McLuhan in saying that “technologies numb the very faculties they amplify. . . . alienation is an inevitable by-product of the use of technology” (212). By becoming used to a tool that makes things easier, we risk losing the skills and relationship with the work that we had before the tool.

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A lot to think about here!

 

“Nanostories: Overrunning Our Culture”

A Review of
And Then There’s This:
How Stories Live and Die In Viral Culture.

by Bill Wasik.

 Reviewed by Chris Smith.

 

And Then There’s This:
How Stories Live and Die In Viral Culture.

Bill Wasik.
Hardcover: Viking Press, 2009.
Buy now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $22 ] [ Amazon ]

 

In 2003, Bill Wasik, an editor at Harper’s Magazine, was bored, and in his boredom, he came up with the idea of using the internet to gather a crowd of people in a certain place for a brief period of time.  This social experiment, the “flash mob” as it became known, was implemented by Wasik eight times in New York City and replicated in other cities around the world.  Wasik, has now chronicled his Internet-age social experiments and reflected on their insight into internet culture in a new book entitled And Then There’s This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture.  In telling his own stories, Wasik also narrates the story of viral internet culture.

    The success of this viral internet culture is based, in Wasik’s estimation on four defining attributes: speed, shamelessness, brief duration and interactivity. Wasik has created term for the ephemeral stories that define viral culture: nanostories.  It is intriguing to me that Wasik (and others) use the adjective “viral” to describe present day internet culture.  The adjective was likely chosen in reference to its contagion, the vast speed at which its stories spread.  However, it could just as easily refer to the power of its inherent deadliness, killing off stories as fast as they rise and spread, as the stories told in And Now There’s This remind us.  It is rather unfortunate that Wasik does not offer us here a little more reflection on the context around how the viral Internet culture arose: e.g., why have people become so bored that they are at all interested in the fleeting nanostories of viral culture?  Continue Reading…