How Facebook Killed the Church, and Other News

Below are posts I found interesting from around the web in the last month or so.

  1. How Facebook Killed the Church – A very interesting argument about the impact of social media and cell phones on church attendance. Professor Richard Beck argues that Millennial (those born after 1982) left the church at a faster rate than Generation X (born between 1961-1981) in part due to Millennials growing up with cell phones and not needing the church as a social hub. He even has graphs! Of course, he admits that correlation (between cell phone use and church attendance) is not causation, but it’s still an interesting premise.
  2. Texts without Context – A fairly comprehensive review of recent books on the subject of how reading and discourse have been changing with increased social media and internet usage. From Stephen Johnson, “We all may read books the way we increasingly read magazines and newspapers: a little bit here, a little bit there.” Like television before it, the Internet as a medium lends itself toward a certain kind of thinking, very little of which can be called “high culture.” [HT: Frank Barnett]
  3. Your Computer Really Is a Part of You – An experiment using computer mice to show how a person’s mind conceives of tools. Thy study attempts to show that our minds think of a tool as part of our physical body when we’re using them. “You’re so tightly coupled to the tools you use that they’re literally part of you as a thinking, behaving thing.” Wild stuff.  [HT: Eric Eekhoff]
  4. Input Zen – pastor Tony Steward looks at which kinds of media take energy and which kinds give energy (for him personally). He then gives some helpful suggestions for how he hopes to organize his inputs. [HT: Rhett Smith]
  5. Simultaneous Web and TV Use Is Surging – Stats from Nielson (those guys who track TV watching habits) are seeing an increase in the number of people who surf the web while they watch TV  – something my wife and I do quite often. It seems to reflect the old adage, “We become what we behold” – i.e. we behold devices that multitask and so we believe that we too can multitask.

If you ever come across links you’d love to share, please send them to me!

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John Dyer

In my day job, I work at Dallas Theological Seminary, and at night I write Bible software for countries whose leaders could be called "overlords." This one time, I wrote a book about technology and Christian faith. You can find out more about what I'm up to at

4 thoughts on “How Facebook Killed the Church, and Other News”

  1. Saw the Facebook/Church article last week. Interesting.

    The thing that interests me about Tony’s list is that all his giving inputs are non-digital, but he is LifeChurch’s Online guy. That seems like a conundrum to me. It creates a bunch of conflicts, doesn’t it? I don’t really know what he does, but if he’s creating more content in a place (Internet) that only drains people (recognizing his claim that his list was only for him, I doubt he’s alone in that list; I certainly resonated with it).

    What I wonder is if digital natives would say the same thing. Perhaps we digital nomads are just enduring the stress of the transition. I don’t know.

    Didn’t totally follow the mouse interrupted article. Got the rough idea. I think synapses, with that small space between each one, is a good metaphor for the way we connect with technology, as extensions of ourselves (even more fitting in the electric age). These extensions are not hardwired per se. But in those small gaps between synapses, things can go wrong, drugs can be inserted (good and bad). We have all these extensions of ourselves, with these small synaptic gaps, and in those gaps, something is breaking down, creating the angst that people like Tony are feeling.

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