Absent while present: Mobile “away-ness” @jesserice @amforbus #wiredchurch #smchurch

From the Q&A on UMPortal:

At a recent conference, I noticed that having mobile access to social networks made a difference in how I interacted there. It’s interesting, the shift that’s happened.
It really is. I was at a retreat where there were 25 of us in a cabin talking about faith and tech culture. People had their laptops open, tweeting about it in real-time. I think that’s super-cool, yet because of my counseling background I’m like, “I don’t feel like we’re as present with each other as we could be if we closed those and started really tuning in to one another.” So it was an interesting thing we had some good conversation about. 
I’m just old enough to realize, “This is kind of weird. This is really different, and I don’t know what to do with it.”

The United Methodist Portal

Yeah,  it is weird,  but starting to be acceptable even in the context of worship.  To what extent is this “tuning out” of the gathered community?  I am not at all opposed to the connection of widely dispersed people via various social networking services and tools,  but when does this become more like a move to the “foyer” and “disengagement”?  And what are the reactions of those “left alone” in the physical space? 

A while back a friend of mine told me of having lunch with a friend who he had not seen in a while.  My friend was bemoaning the fact that his friend seemed hardly present with him at all,  but rather to his “other conversations” which he was relaying to my friend as it happened.  This seems to be a lot of crossing of the line. 

Does a worshipping church community have a justifiable suspicion of such wholesale acceptance of “connected” worship?  Jesse Rice (author of The Church of Facebook)  may well categorize this amongst his warnings about hyper-connectivity.

How does a community avail itself of useful and resourceful connections and also keep its attention and inter-connectedness to the ftf community intact?

About Theoblogical

I am a Web developer with a background in theology, sociology and communications. I love to read, watch movies, sports, and am looking for authentic church.

2 Replies to “Absent while present: Mobile “away-ness” @jesserice @amforbus #wiredchurch #smchurch”

  1. Theoblogical Post author

    So, which situation is it when considering online connections during and in worship times ….at what point does interaction with online communications detract/distract from attention to the gathered ftf community? The friend’s situation was an extreme. But I ask from that example when we might reach the point of distracting ourselves, or “leaving” the local gathering off to the side as we jump into something “somewhere else”?

    I don’t say all this to be nitpicky or say you’re wrong. What you pointed out is true. But we need to know how this all affects what worship is meant to be; or what its possibilities are.

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