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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…

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…

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…

Another Week Ends: (Crushing) Childhood Dreams, Mrs. Crews Still Loves Her Husband, "The Atheist Had It Coming," The Arts Strike Back, Belittling Big Data, Snapchatting Nudies, Forgiving Engineers, and Pleasing United Airlines

Another Week Ends: (Crushing) Childhood Dreams, Mrs. Crews Still Loves Her Husband, “The Atheist Had It Coming,” The Arts Strike Back, Belittling Big Data, Snapchatting Nudies, Forgiving Engineers, and Pleasing United Airlines

Click here to listen to the accompanying episode of The Mockingcast, featuring a brand-new co-host! 1. Last Friday The Washington Post ran a brilliantly pessimistic article entitled, “No, honey, you can’t be anything you want to be. And that’s okay.” When my son turned one, friends gifted him with an illustrated Snoopy the Dog book called “You Can Be Anything.” …Dressed in the garb of his chosen occupation, Snoopy is pictured as a…

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…

Another Week Ends: More Declining Humanities, You Shall Know Them by Their Google-Searches, Some Simone Weil, Garrison Keillor Goes to Church, the New Male (?) Self-Improvement, and Social-Media Shaming

Another Week Ends: More Declining Humanities, You Shall Know Them by Their Google-Searches, Some Simone Weil, Garrison Keillor Goes to Church, the New Male (?) Self-Improvement, and Social-Media Shaming

1. First up, education. Ross Douthat at the NYT this week wrote a thoughtful appeal for the humanities, which are in serious decline. At the top thirty colleges (according to the formidable US News rankings), the proportion of humanities majors has fallen from about a third in the early 2000s to around a fifth today. In glossing this change, Douthat lays much of the blame at the door of “technocratic ambition.” For the technocrats,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Another Week Ends: Celebrity Religion, Superman Myths, More Spufford, and Santa Uncrossed

Another Week Ends: Celebrity Religion, Superman Myths, More Spufford, and Santa Uncrossed

1. Rod Dreher blogged on a Martin Heidegger interview from 1966, with some incredibly prescient observations about our religious urges amidst the decline of Christianity in Europe/America: HEIDEGGER: … Philosophy will not be able to bring about a direct change of the present state of the world. This is true not only of philosophy but of all merely human meditations and endeavors. Only a god can still save us. I think the only possibility of…