Alternative Faith: Click Crack, Fake News, and Good Newsby Duo Dickinson on Feb 15, 2017 • 2:43 pm 1 Comment
America has a Tweeter in Chief. The response is a seemingly unending stream of Facebook sites and posts and comments and likes and friending and unfriending. Drudge had a record month in January — over 1,000,000,000 hits.
Is “SEE-CLICK” rewiring our collective reality? Apple’s Tim Cook seems to think so:
“We are going through this period of time right here where unfortunately some of the people that are winning are the people that spend their time trying to get the most clicks, not tell the most truth,” Cook told the Daily Telegraph. “It’s killing people’s minds, in a way.”
I am typing this on an Apple product and use 2 others: so I trust Tim — especially since he is only 5 years younger than me.
Our brains have shifted to deal with both the volume influx and the type of info. This new torrent essentially uses our lizard brains: we see, we click. Endlessly. SEE-CLICK is just the last act in a generation of change from listening to reacting.
I think this explosion tends to erode Faith in anything beyond the here-and-now — because the instantaneous, real-time, RIGHT NOW reality of cyber connectivity offers a crack-addict’s view of every aspect of daily living: SEE-CLICK your lunch. SEE-CLICK your friend’s status. SEE-CLICK on anyone reacting to your tweet, post, status, share.
There is no time for “why” — it’s autonomic. The instantaneous has more value than the thoughtful — let alone faithful. If we increasingl rely on the flickering reality of the world on our screens, I think the amount of room we have for a belief in something more than that, and more than the eyes and brain processing those screenshots, diminishes.
Because it’s addictive.
I woke up this morning to something only the Internet provides: a Twitter flurry involving Mockingbird, my Facebook page, my blog, and another site I write for. This tiny torrent was interconnecting my writing by tweets, retweets, likes — all nice, no trolling, all in dozens and scores of contacts — not like the thousands and millions of POTUS Twitter storm responses. I actually got a rush and jumped in, madly typing, clicking, copying, pasting, emailing, Linked-In-ing, retweeting, liking, linking, commenting, and on and on and on, mostly while cranking on my recumbent bike.
It’s so easy to surf the rush of metrics — these are real measurables: “impressions,” “likes,” “shares,” “views,” “visits,” “friends.” All of these are attached to numbers — grades, in effect. They are the trillions of sardines tossed into the mouths of billions of trained seals clicking-clicking-clicking in response.
That reality deadens me — and everyone I know. One of my sons has left it all behind, because it can become a draining, unsustainable, and eventually dehumanizing love-suck.
At 61, this is learned behavior for me. Of course I created a website 20 years ago. Nine years ago, a media friend sent me a Facebook friend invite: it was the media virus’s Precambrian era, so it was a novelty, and I joined. Facebook is now a necessity for anybody trying to do anything in media. My publisher then said I had to tweet, so I signed up for Twitter. My local paper then offered to create a blog for me: I said OK — and I spend time tracking its monthly “visits.” Of course I then Linked-in, Pinterested, and Instagrammed.
It is part of the human condition that we want to find and know the Truth, and this very new explosion of “Alternative Facts” is facilitated by a technology that is simultaneously clarifying and distorting virtually every aspect of communication — and thus Truth — that humans engage and believe in.
In old timey writing and conversing, we often use the info we find on the InterWebNet as if we had experienced it personally, first hand: because in a perverse way we do. The YouTube video, the instant Tweet, the Facebook post all become real — versus what they are: a filtered reality. Everyone can crop, edit, colorize and limit the audience of who sees what, because this huge engine of connection only connects — it does not create.
In the end, this monstrous megasystem can be compartmentalized. Just as humans can get a grip on drugs, perhaps we can get a grip on the media. After all, there are former crack addicts. Drunks can stop drinking. The fat can become less fat. Almost no one I know smokes anymore.
But like food, you cannot avoid media. Can we use it and not be overwhelmed by it? I do not know: I have to be on these portals if I want to be “in the world” with my writing, and even in being an architect. My presence is tiny and ancillary to what I do: design buildings, write, be a husband and father — and someone who lives in a Christian reality.
Yet I get joy from seeing the Facebook video that I took of my church’s choir get 4,000 “views” in a week. It’s very easy to lose the love of God that the singing reflected and revealed in the crack-like high of seeing the “view” count spike. The video is just the video — it only connects. It may depict the love of the Sacred and Blessed: but it’s just a video, no matter how many times it’s viewed. But the Good News is not Fake News.
I am less fat than I once was: I lost weight because I knew where I was as a body was not who I was. I lost weight and kept two-thirds of it off for 10 years because I revealed to myself that food was being engorged without any understanding of its impact on me.
So it is with the InterWebNets: if I engorge the crack of feedback I know I can be crushed by it. Live by metrics, and you will die by them. Trust that the connection to information is the Truth in the connection, not the Truth.
The Holy Spirit is within me. That presence is frustrating, forgiving, unrelenting and, in the end, the meaning of everything I do. The only reason I can do anything is because I have been given everything.
The new media is not a gift: it is a suck: it can be a tool, but it can also tool us into something we cannot understand, and that has nothing to do with the soul we have been separated from by its presence. Fake News may distract, but the Good News is, in the end, unavoidable — even when I check on yesterday’s Tweet Impressions.
Or get in touch.