Category : –Social Networking

How The Church Of England Is Extending Its Congregation

‘The Church’s structure is unique. We are, in effect, an umbrella organisation at a national level. The way I describe my role is that I shine a light on what is going on locally, whether that is registering Christmas services and bringing them together in a national directory, or creating a great set of videos for them to share. These are the things that our dioceses have neither the funds nor the time to create, and people associate with the Church of England so we can join it all up so that it doesn’t look too random.’

The social media work around Christmas ‘provided a real confidence boost regarding the opportunities there are with a relatively small budget’, adds [Adrian] Harris.

One popular initiative launched by the Church of England is to post a simple prayer on its social media accounts. ‘People write in their hundreds ‘Amen’ underneath,’ says Harris. On All Soul’s Day, when Christians remember deceased relatives and friends, many wrote their memories of lost ones under the prayer. He adds: ‘When awful things happen in the world, prayers tend to do well because it is about the Church showing relevance. It is about us being in that conversation with a Christian message.’

Prayer has proved particularly effective on Instagram. ‘We have got into a routine of posting at key points of the day, such as Sunday evening, and we are really strict about this schedule so that we can reach the biggest organic audience,’ says Harris. ‘We have 2,000 followers on Instagram, sharing prayers and nice pictures of the life of the Church. Every fortnight we are changing our focus, featuring a different church or a different tradition. We have an opportunity to tell our story, and our relevance stems from all the things that we do and the breadth and depth of the Church across the country.’

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Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Do not take yourself too seriously Dept.–Top novelist @fictionfox’s husband’s career change prompts Twitter gold

So, last week the new Bishop of Sheffield was announced. What this actually precipitated was the most creative burst of episcopally related shenanigans on Twitter that we’ve ever seen from @fictionfox (who happens to be married to the bishop-designate of Sheffield).

Here are some of her best tweets…

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Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Humor / Trivia, Marriage & Family

(Christian Today) Sinners R Us? We do it God’s way? Help this clergyman find a new slogan for the Church of England

Does the Church of England need a corporate slogan?

Rev Richard Coles, the witty Church of England clergyman who is a former member of the Communards pop group and a BBC broadcaster, has shared on Facebook that he’s been asked to think up a corporate slogan for the Church.

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Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture

(AP) Pakistan asks Facebook and Twitter to help identify blasphemers

Pakistan said Thursday it has asked Facebook and Twitter to help it identify Pakistanis suspected of blasphemy so that it can prosecute them or pursue their extradition.

Under Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws, anyone found to have insulted Islam or the Prophet Muhammad can be sentenced to death.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said an official in Pakistan’s Washington embassy has approached the two social media companies in an effort to identify Pakistanis, either within the country or abroad, who recently shared material deemed offensive to Islam.

Read it all. Also, WWM has a look at Pakistan’s blasphemy laws there.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pakistan, Religion & Culture

(NYT) Why We Can’t Look Away From Our Screens

Q. What makes you think that people have become addicted to digital devices and social media?

A. In the past, we thought of addiction as mostly related to chemical substances: heroin, cocaine, nicotine. Today, we have this phenomenon of behavioral addictions where, one tech industry leader told me, people are spending nearly three hours a day tethered to their cellphones. Where teenage boys sometimes spend weeks alone in their rooms playing video games. Where Snapchat will boast that its youthful users open their app more than 18 times a day.

Behavioral addictions are really widespread now. A 2011 study suggested that 41 percent of us have at least one. That number is sure to have risen with the adoption of newer more addictive social networking platforms, tablets and smartphones.

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Posted in --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Science & Technology

(AFP) How algorithms (secretly) run the world

When you browse online for a new pair of shoes, pick a movie to stream on Netflix or apply for a car loan, an algorithm likely has its word to say on the outcome.

The complex mathematical formulas are playing a growing role in all walks of life: from detecting skin cancers to suggesting new Facebook friends, deciding who gets a job, how police resources are deployed, who gets insurance at what cost, or who is on a “no fly” list.

Algorithms are being used — experimentally — to write news articles from raw data, while Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was helped by behavioral marketers who used an algorithm to locate the highest concentrations of “persuadable voters.”

But while such automated tools can inject a measure of objectivity into erstwhile subjective decisions, fears are rising over the lack of transparency algorithms can entail, with pressure growing to apply standards of ethics or “accountability.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Science & Technology, Theology

WCBD-Dark side of Pinterest: Moms learn site can showcase suicide, role play, child pornography

For moms like Stefany Rodriguez-Neely, Marianne Touger and Zakeia Smith, a sinister secret was lurking beneath the surface of their favorite spot online ”“ a website so popular, that more than 100 million use it each day.

“I was clueless. I was like, really?!” Smith told 8 On Your Side. “’Cause I think, when I think Pinterest, or one of those other sites, I think it’s all about crafting and recipes.”

Touger had the same response.

“It never occurred to me, never occurred to me that it would be a problem with Pinterest,” she said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pornography, Science & Technology, Theology

(NR) Group discusses Saint Augustine's City of God on Twitter


That should keep you busy,” an Amtrak conductor commented as he saw my already-worn copy of Saint Augustine’s City of God in front of me shortly after boarding in Baltimore for New York. Reading the 1,000-plus-page classic was not something I had planned for 2017, but something Twitter, of all things, drew me into.

Chad Pecknold, a professor of theology at my alma mater, the Catholic University of America, had the idea to conduct a 15-week seminar over Twitter on a book he was teaching this semester anyway. Of course, a classroom is one thing; social media, very much another. But sure enough, as I got myself to Twitter on that first Thursday night, a father announced he had put his kids to bed and was ready, a federal judge weighed in with his insights, and all sorts of people from varied backgrounds shared their favorite quotes from the first chapters of City of God, and made connections to politics and religion and culture today.

Now entering its fifth week, held from 8 to 10 (Eastern time) on Thursday nights, the discussion is led by Pecknold, who designates chapters and half-hour slots, all flagged by the hashtag #CivDei, which makes it easy for anyone who misses “class,” as I have already a week or two, to catch up at another hour.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Church History, Education, Science & Technology, Theology

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–Can the gospel reach digital natives?

Once upon a time, if you wanted to communicate with someone, you either spoke to them, sent them a letter (which could be delivered in either of the two postal deliveries every day!), or you phoned them. This could be from one of two places: either a phone box in the street, requiring loads of change, or the house phone in the hall””where everyone could hear you””and answered by the desired recipient’s parents, with whom you had to have an excruciatingly awkward conversation before being able to ask for the person you actually wanted to speak to. This probably sounds like the dark ages, but it was actually less than 35 years ago.’

So begins the latest Grove Youth booklet on Youth Ministry in a Digital Age by Liz Dumain, who works in the mission team in Birmingham Diocese. The booklet is a great exploration of the challenges and opportunities of reaching ”˜digital natives’, those who were born with the internet technology that many of us have been learning to adapt to. Liz begins by noting the growth of internet use, how it differs for those who have known nothing else, and why it matters.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Christology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Soteriology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Massive networks of fake accounts found on Twitter

Massive collections of fake accounts are lying dormant on Twitter, suggests research.
The largest network ties together more than 350,000 accounts and further work suggests others may be even bigger.
UK researchers accidentally uncovered the lurking networks while probing Twitter to see how people use it.
Some of the accounts have been used to fake follower numbers, send spam and boost interest in trending topics.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Theology

Generation X More Addicted to Social Media Than Millennials, Report Finds

We all know the stereotype: silly millennials, tethered to their phones, unable to accomplish the simplest tasks without scrolling their Instagram feeds, snapping their friends and/or tweeting inanely.

But a Nielsen report released last week shows that Americans from 18 to 34 are less obsessed with social media than are some of their older peers.

Adults 35 to 49 were found to spend an average of 6 hours 58 minutes a week on social media, compared with 6 hours 19 minutes a week for their younger counterparts. More predictably, adults 50 and over spent significantly less time on social media, with an average of 4 hours 9 minutes a week on the networks.

Sean Casey, the president of Nielsen’s social division, said that the finding had initially surprised him, because “the going thought is that social is vastly owned by the younger generation.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology, Young Adults

Ed Stetzer–Facts Are Our Friends: Why Sharing Fake News Makes Us Look Stupid and Harms Our Witness

Christians seem attracted to an alternative set of facts, but we don’t need them.
Even if the truth doesn’t seem favorable to us, we don’t have to go looking for an opposing story. We have a hope in something greater. We believe that Truth is personified in a Person””Jesus. When we dishonor the truth, we dishonor Jesus.
In 2012, I wrote, “I’m saddened that many Christians are being included in the groups that create their own facts.” Unfortunately, more and more people are noticing this to be the case.
Gullible or conspiracy-spreading Christians simply do not help these perceptions. Instead, they feed the impression that Evangelicals are simply unwilling to face truth.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Media, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Quora via Forbes) Loneliness Might Be A Bigger Health Risk Than Smoking Or Obesity

In the last decade alone, physicians and researchers have begun looking deeply into the impact of loneliness and social isolation on health, well being, and mortality, and the data on the subject is overwhelming: a lonely person is significantly more likely to suffer an early death than a non-lonely one.

Most of this research is centered around geriatrics, as you might guess, where feelings of loneliness are powerfully predictive of mortality. A few years ago researchers at Brigham Young University conducted an influential meta-analysis of scientific literature on the subject, and found that social isolation increases your risk of death by an astounding ~30%, and some estimates have it as high as 60%!

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology

(Archbp of York) Survey finds two thirds of UK would switch off social media over Christmas

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said: “I’m a keen social media user and I think it’s a great way to stay in touch with family and friends as well as get a sense of what’s going on in the wider world. That said, it’s greatly encouraging that two thirds of people would consider a social media fast over Christmas.

“The festive period is a time to connect at a much more meaningful level. Putting down your phone for just a few days gives you time to strike up conversations you might not have had, get out and enjoy social activities with friends, or just relax and enjoy a traditional Christmas without the constant distraction of newsfeeds and timelines.

“Even if it’s just for a day or two, why not take up the challenge and enjoy a short social media fast this Christmas ”“ you might be surprised how good you feel as a result.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Blogging & the Internet, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Theology

([London] Times) Firms must block child ”˜sexting’

Social media giants should block children from sharing explicit images to help to curb Britain’s “sexting” crisis, the health secretary has said.

Jeremy Hunt also heaped pressure on tech and mobile phone companies to tackle sexting among under-18s. Technology existed to allow social media platforms to block explicit images from young users automatically, following a request from their parents, he said.

It is the latest demand from a senior government figure for social media companies to take a greater role in confronting issues such as online porn, cyberbullying and extremism.

Giving evidence to the Commons health committee yesterday, Mr Hunt said the companies needed to show that they were willing to help to improve mental health among teenagers. He warned against an online culture of intimidation and sexual imagery.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Theology