SOCIAL MEDIA & How, in the words of #Luther, it increasingly “curves us inward on ourselves.”

“Social Media and Sin” by A. Trevor Sutton, The Martin Marty Center, University of Chicago Divinity School, 4/4/18.

…Religion may offer an important explanation as to why this social media platform is so problematic both for society and for individual well-being. Human depravity, original sin, and concupiscence are perennial themes, for example, within the discipline of Christian theology. Augustine and Martin Luther are known for describing the human condition as incurvatus in se (“curved inward on oneself”). Rather than living a life that is aligned toward God and others, human sinfulness directs our life inward, toward self-justification, self-gratification, and self-aggrandizement. The notion that sin has warped, twisted, maimed, and ruined human goodness is as ubiquitous in theology as Facebook is in modern life.

The burgeoning field of user experience design (UX), when put in conversation with the theological notion of human depravity, helps to put the problematic nature of social media into sharp relief. A central concern within UX is user-centered design. As the name suggests, user-centered design advocates for designing with end users in mind. That is to say, technology is designed to acknowledge and accommodate the needs and wants of the user, as designers seek to maximize user experience by creating products that are built around the user’s desires. User research is responsible for nearly all the design decisions at Facebook. In fact, there is an entire department at Facebook dedicated to Human Computer Interaction and UX. Teams of people at Facebook are thus dedicated to researching, and finding ways to capitalize on, the individual behaviors, thoughts, and impulses of users.

Donald Norman, a formative figure in user-centered design, has recognized how designers actually aim to facilitate human sinfulness through that which they design. In the foreword to a book by Chris Nodder, Evil by Design: Interaction Design to Lead Us into Temptation, Norman writes: “But why should design be based on evil? Simple: Starting with evil means starting with real human behavior … And good design results from good understanding.” Norman’s point is rather simple: good design understands users, and it must therefore also consider the depravity of users.

This means that, according to user-centered design, human sinfulness ought to be accounted for and perhaps even exploited when creating products for the digital age. According to Nodder, designers must ask themselves the question: “how do we influence behavior through the medium of software?”

Theology recognizes that human hearts are curved inward, inclined to boast, and always looking for opportunities to prove their own self-righteousness. Human-computer interaction, UX, and user-centered design recognize that social media platforms should be designed to meet the wants and needs of real human users. Putting these two concepts in conversation with one another reveals why Facebook can be so dangerous. Facebook’s technology is designed to accommodate, encourage, and exploit human depravity. The “Like” button on Facebook is not there by chance; the “Like” button was created to satisfy our deep longing to be liked by others, lauded for our accomplishments, and acknowledged for our righteousness…

Resources

– Allen, Mike. “Sean Parker unloads on Facebook: ‘God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains’.” Axios. November 9, 2017.

– Murphy, Mike. “Why Apple’s Tim Cook doesn’t want his nephew to use social networks.” MarketWatch. January 22, 2018.

– Nodder, Chris. Evil by Design: Interaction Design to Lead Us into Temptation. Wiley, 2013.

– Wong, Julia Carrie. “Former Facebook executive: social media is ripping society apart.” The Guardian. December 12, 2017.

Read more at … https://divinity.uchicago.edu/sightings/social-media-and-sin

#GCRN2018 #GreatCommissionResearchNetwork

 

PRAYER & A Student’s Story About How Facebook Sharing When Wrong

by Bob Whitesel, 6/1/15.

In a previous article (titled: PRAYER & Guidelines for Keeping it Effective & Confidential) I shared guidelines to protecting privacy in this day of burgeoning social media.

Below is a poignant story from a student about sharing prayer requests confidentially in the new age of burgeoning social media.  Below is what he said and the lesson he wanted to share.

“Earlier this summer a lady in our church found out she had a brain tumor.  I remember the day we found out; everyone was devastated about the diagnosis.  She had a friend that had went to the hospital with her call me to tell me what was going on and asked that I come to the hospital.  When I got there she asked that I put a prayer request about her tumor, (she was ok with telling reasonable details of her condition).

We use an automated system to relay prayer requests via recorded phone call.  To my dismay this system was down, and this lady needed prayer.  I tried several more times over the next couple of hours to get this message out, but the recording system was down and it had been a long time already we really needed to get people praying.

My wife called and asked if she thought we could put the request out over FaceBook because she had started to call people individually and she is just not good at delivering news like this and handling the broken-hearted reactions of the people on the other end of the phone.  Since this lady had told us to release certain details of her condition and we have quite a few prayer-chain members who are on my wife’s FB as friends and likely no one else would know who this lady was by just her first name my wife put out a prayer request on FB.

Though the lady who had the tumor was not upset her daughter-in-law was because she was afraid her children would see get this info before she could talk to them about it.

To make a long story short this is one leadership mistake I will never make again.

Finally, I think it is prudent not only to talk with the person the request is about but also to the family before any info is released, because even if the prayer call had gone out her children may have retrieved the message from their answering machine before she could talk to them.  Bottom-line…yours is a good policy (for) GOD knows the details.”

SOCIAL MEDIA & How Frequently Should Churches Really Post On Social Media? • #djchuang

by Jeremy Smith, 5/23/15, author ofBy The Numbers: A Longitudinal Study on the Digital Ministry of America’s Largest Churches

There is this notion floating around which has gained ground that a magic number exists for how frequently a church should post on different social media platforms to get the best reach every day…

I decided to take this into my own hands and evaluated 12,253 social media posts in December 2014 on three different social media platforms from the 100 largest churches in America in 2014. I assume that these churches are looking to innovate, pioneer, and devote resources to reaching people digitally. Here is what I found:

  • Not a single church posted every day of the month and the average church posted about 3 times a week.
  • 27 churches posted a frequency of at least once a day, 6 of them at least three times a day, and 1 church reached more than five times a day. The average was once a day.
  • Only 20 churches tweeted a frequency of less than once a day whereas 18 churches tweeted five times a day and 2 churches as high as 12 and 16 times a day. The average church posted three times a day…

Read more at … http://djchuang.com/2015/frequently-churches-really-post-social-media/

SOCIAL MEDIA & a Guide to Best Times to Tweet, Post, Blog & Email #InfoGraphic

by Belle Beth Cooper, BufferSocial, 8/28/13

…We really need more time and more studies to get definitive answers about what works best, and the fact that our audience members are constantly changing their own activity patterns makes it even harder to work out for sure… So my suggestion would be to use this guide as just that—a guide…

FACEBOOK: The following infographic from KISSmetrics and Dan Zarrella describes it well (the best time to post on Facebook):

When is the best time to tweet, best time to post to Facebook or the best time to send emails or best time to publish blogposts?

TWITTER: Twitter engagement for brands is 17% higher on weekends according to Dan Zarrella’s research.

When is the best time to tweet, best time to post to Facebook or the best time to send emails or best time to publish blogposts?

When we look at the time of day, retweets have been shown to be highest around 5pm.

When is the best time to tweet, best time to post to Facebook or the best time to send emails or best time to publish blogposts? when should I post to twitter, when should I post to facebook, when should I send emails, when should I publish blogposts

When is the best time to tweet, best time to post to Facebook or the best time to send emails or best time to publish blogposts?

EMAIL: In a different study by MailChimp open rates were shown to be noticeably lower on weekends.

when should you send emails? What time of day should I send emails? When is the best time to tweet, best time to post to Facebook or the best time to send emails or best time to publish blogposts?

They also found that open rates increased after 12pm, and were highest between 2pm and 5pm.

When is the best time to tweet, best time to post to Facebook or the best time to send emails or best time to publish blogposts?

GetResponse found that Thursday is the best day for both open rates and click-throughs.

When is the best time to tweet, best time to post to Facebook or the best time to send emails or best time to publish blogposts?

BLOG POSTS: Dan Zarrella has some more great stats on this topic…

When is the best time to tweet, best time to post to Facebook or the best time to send emails or best time to publish blogposts?

Social Fresh suggests posting on a Thursday for more social shares across the web. Here are also more ideas to find the best time to publish blogposts.

When is the best time to tweet, best time to post to Facebook or the best time to send emails or best time to publish blogposts?

Read more at … https://blog.bufferapp.com/best-time-to-tweet-post-to-facebook-send-emails-publish-blogposts

SOCIAL MEDIA & 10 Surprising Social Media Strategies

By Belle Beth Cooper, BufferSocial, 7/16/14

1. The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55–64 year age bracket.

… Rethink it: Keep older users in mind when using social media, particularly on these three platforms. Our age makes a difference to our taste and interests, so if you’re focusing on younger users with the content you post, you could be missing an important demographic.

2. 189 million of Facebook’s users are ‘mobile only’

Rethink it: There are probably more users accessing Facebook from mobile devices than you thought. It’s worth considering how your content displays on mobile devices and smaller screens before posting it, particularly if your target market is full of mobile users.

3. YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18–34 than any cable network

Rethink it: If you’ve been putting off adding video to your strategy, now’s the time to give it a go. You could start small with simple five minutes videos explaining what your company does or introducing your team. Source: jeffbullas.com

4. Every second 2 new members join LinkedIn

Rethink it: LinkedIn is definitely worth paying attention to. In particular, this is a place where you may want to focus more on new users. Making your group or community a great source of information and a newbie-friendly space can help you to make the most out of the growing user base.

5. Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the web

Rethink it: Putting time and effort into your social media strategy clearly makes sense in light of these stats. If you weren’t already serious about social media, you might want to give it a bit more of your time now.

6. LinkedIn has a lower percentage of active users than Pinterest, Google+, Twitter and Facebook

Rethink it: If you’re hoping to get people involved, think about which platforms are best for that. Looking at the latest Twitter statistics and Facebook statistics, these platforms might be a better place for your contest or survey, while passive content like blog posts or slide decks might be just right for your LinkedIn audience. Source: jeffbullas.com

7. 93% of marketers use social media for business

… Rethink it: If you’re struggling to make your strategy work, or you just want some advice, you don’t have to go it alone. If 93% of marketers are using social media for business, you can probably find someone to give you a hand. Source: Social Media Video 2013

8. 25% of smartphone owners ages 18–44 say they can’t recall the last time their smartphone wasn’t next to them

… Rethink it: While you can reach people almost anytime, since they have their smartphones with them almost always, this also means you can interrupt pretty much any part of their lives. Don’t forget that having a phone in your pocket all the time isn’t the same as being available all the time. Source: marketingprofs.com

9. Even though 62% of marketers blog or plan to blog in 2013, only 9% of US marketing companies employ a full-time blogger

Rethink it: If you don’t have (or can’t afford) a full-time blogger for your business, be aware that having a content strategy that requires consistently posting on your blog will mean a lot of work for your marketing team and/or other team members in your company to keep up that volume. Source: factbrowser.com 1 and 2

10. 25% of Facebook users don’t bother with privacy settings

Rethink it: Assuming that all of your customers are thinking along the same lines could be a big mistake. Especially if you’re basing that on what you’ve heard or read in the tech news. Remember that your customers might have very different priorities than what you expect. Source: velocitydigital.co.uk

Read more here … https://blog.bufferapp.com/10-surprising-social-media-statistics-that-will-make-you-rethink-your-strategy

DUNBAR NUMBER & Don’t Believe Facebook; You Only Have 150 Friends #NPR #GoodResearch

By National Public Radio, 6/5/11

According to Acording to “Dunbar’s Number,” human beings can maintain a network of only about 150 close friends.

Most of Dunbar’s research … is based on the idea that human beings can hold only about 150 meaningful relationships in their heads. Dunbar has researched the idea so deeply, the number 150 has been dubbed “Dunbar’s Number.”

Ironically, the term was coined on Facebook, where 150 friends may seem like precious few.

“There was a discussion by people saying ‘I’ve got too many friends — I don’t know who half these people are,'” Dunbar says. “Somebody apparently said, ‘Look, there’s this guy in England who says you can’t have more than 150.'”

Dunbar has found 150 to be the sweet spot for hunter-gatherer societies all over the world. From the Bushmen of Southern Africa to Native American tribes, a typical community is about 150 people. Amish and Hutterite communities — even most military companies around the world — seem to follow the same rule.

The reason 150 is the optimal number for a community comes from our primate ancestors, Dunbar says. In smaller groups, primates could work together to solve problems and evade predators. Today, 150 seems to be the number at which our brains just max out on memory…

…Dunbar says there are some neurological mechanisms in place to help us cope with the ever-growing amount of social connections life seems to require. Humans have the ability, for example, to facially recognize about 1,500 people. Now that would be an impressive number of Facebook friends.

Yet the problem with such a large number of “friends,” Dunbar says, is that “relationships involved across very big units then become very casual — and don’t have that deep meaning and sense of obligation and reciprocity that you have with your close friends.”

One solution to that problem, he adds, can be seen in the modern military. Even as they create “supergroups” — battalions, regiments, divisions — most militaries are nonetheless able to maintain the sense of community felt at the 150-person company level.

“The answer has to come out of that,” Dunbar says, “trying to create a greater sense of community.

“In a way, Americans are lucky in that respect,” he adds. “There’s this long tradition of commitment to ideals that binds Americans together. That isn’t always true elsewhere.”

While modern society does make it hard to hang on to friends who aren’t geographically close, Dunbar says, his research shows family is different.

“Friends, if you don’t see them, will gradually cease to be interested in you,” he says. “Family relationships seem to be very stable. No matter how far away you go, they love you when you come back.”

Read more at … http://www.npr.org/2011/06/04/136723316/dont-believe-facebook-you-only-have-150-friends

Speaking Hashtags:  #StLizTX