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True Belonging and the Perils of Braving the Wilderness on Social Media

True Belonging and the Perils of Braving the Wilderness on Social Media

In the most recent On Being interview with Krista Tippett and Brené Brown, they discuss Brown’s latest book Braving the Wilderness and many of Brown’s concepts. Early in their conversation, they talk about how we are made for connection. Brown says, “It’s partly because we are neuro-biologically hardwired for belonging and connection. We’re hardwired to want it, and need it so much, that the first thing we do is sacrifice ourselves and who we…

What Happens When You Finally Quit Social Media

What Happens When You Finally Quit Social Media

An anonymous confession. A recent study reported by The New York Times suggests that people are people with or without Facebook. People without Facebook have mood swings; people with Facebook have mood swings and access to thousands of pictures of people they might only kind of know. Examining the study, Benedict Carey explains how “heavy users were moody before they were sucked deeply into Facebook.” While participants who abstained from the…

The Wounded Soul of Social Media = Connected but Alone

The Wounded Soul of Social Media = Connected but Alone

This post may not break any new ground, but it does summarize about two years worth of Mockingbird analysis on the psychology and law of social networking. We’ve profiled Sherry Turkle’s work before, noting her front-line work on the psychological impact of social networking. We’ve profiled the internet-ubiquitous TED talks, and their exquisite use of social media to, among other things, tell us how bad social media can be for…

New Parties for the Age of Social Media

New Parties for the Age of Social Media

Who actually flies to Vegas for a bachelor party? I’m not being mean or judgmental here. I really want to know. Who has that kind of money to spend on a friend? I mean, if you’re living in LA and Vegas is only 4 car hours away, make like The Hangover and have a good (and hopefully more responsible) time. It was hard to suspend my disbelief when the gals in Bridesmaids boarded a plane to Vegas from Chicago. Maybe the flights are cheap from…

Another Week Ends: Divine Dad Jokes, Social Media Dark Ages, Millennial Marriages, Cher's SOS, and a Swimming Pool Full of Sprinkles

Another Week Ends: Divine Dad Jokes, Social Media Dark Ages, Millennial Marriages, Cher's SOS, and a Swimming Pool Full of Sprinkles

1. It’s the experience economy, in case you haven’t heard. In a previous vocation, that was the mantra by which we were expected to “pivot” our future plans. The new experience entrepreneurs have likely set up shop in your neighborhood too: we just got our first axe-throwing range to compliment our smashing-pottery-therapy studio and our two escape rooms. Intrepid NYT writer Amanda Hess took the summer to profile the…

If Only You Were Lonely: Social Media, Self-Forgetfulness and Yvette Vickers' Computer

If Only You Were Lonely: Social Media, Self-Forgetfulness and Yvette Vickers' Computer

Lord have mercy! The Atlantic just dropped the article of the year, at least as far as this website is concerned. Underneath the slightly been-there-done-that title of “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” lies an exploration of identity creation and loneliness and self-immolation that may even jerk a few tears of grief. Stephen Marche has crafted a tour-de-force, combing the research, polling the experts and injecting a fair amount of…

The Areopagus and The Woodshed: Re-imagining Abuse in Social Media

The Areopagus and The Woodshed: Re-imagining Abuse in Social Media

In the world of social media, Twitter’s hard times have caused much hand wringing and head scratching. Once hailed as a global marketplace for the exchange of ideas, a modern Areopagus of sorts, the social network has seen its growth achieving ever flattening levels of stagnation. And as resident social media watchman, I’m beginning to see some of these patterns affect the Mockingbird twitterverse as well. So when we received this essay in the…

Malcolm Gladwell on the Limits of Social Media

Malcolm Gladwell on the Limits of Social Media

An enlightening look at the power, and the lack thereof, of social media technology in The New Yorker entitled, “Small Change: Why The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted”. As per usual, Gladwell mixes in some provocative nuggets about the human condition: The platforms of social media are built around weak ties. Twitter is a way of following (or being followed by) people you may never have met. Facebook is a tool for efficiently…

Another Week Ends: Reciprocal Favors, Atheism's Biggest Challenge, <i>The New Yorker</i> Profiles Francis I, Declining WASPs, Social Media Christmas Cards, Ascendant Meritocracies, and Simon Pegg

Another Week Ends: Reciprocal Favors, Atheism's Biggest Challenge, The New Yorker Profiles Francis I, Declining WASPs, Social Media Christmas Cards, Ascendant Meritocracies, and Simon Pegg

1. New Year’s Resolutions: we’ve said about all we’re going to say concerning a yearly ritual of personal bootstrapping, but some great articles this year from Tullian Tchividjian (on the spiritual side of things), from Woody Guthrie’s Sermon-on-the-Mount-standard life guide (pictured below), and finally, a wonderful Quartz article about how to make resolutions you can keep. After long study, they basically…

Friction and Addiction in New Social Media

Friction and Addiction in New Social Media

A fascinating read, from beginning to end, in GQ about what’s going on behind the “New Social Media” phenomenon in Silicon Valley, “The Viral Me”. The answer appears to be a peculiar form of narcissism, which is as idealistic about changing the way people relate as it is cynical in its understanding of how to do so. In other words, these guys are attempting to (and succeeding in) exploit our addictive tendencies…

From Stickers to Likes: Validation, Authenticity, and Social Media for the Children of the 90s

From Stickers to Likes: Validation, Authenticity, and Social Media for the Children of the 90s

Modern Reformation’s May-June issue is out! If you haven’t already picked up a copy, this issue, entitled “Wired and Tired,” deals mostly with this our age of technology, and the unexpected weight it has brought to its users. Coming from the angle of identity and authenticity, one of the featured articles comes from yours truly. In it I’m discussing the era of social media, and its connection to the era (my era) of…

Social Media, Shame, and the Prescience of DFW

Social Media, Shame, and the Prescience of DFW

This month’s edition of Christianity Today features a cover story, “The Return of Shame,” that draws a clear, causative link between the prevalence of social media and its corollary stripping of privacy with the emergence of a shame-fame culture. I couldn’t help but relate this to David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest (and Billy Idol’s “Eyes without a Face”). n contrast to a guilt culture wherein morality is evaluated on the…