I spent years blogging about social media, trying to think about ways to drive mainstream adoption. When we reached the tipping point I had to ask "what now?" but still managed to find things to write about for a while.

But, for the last several years, I have become increasingly disenchanted with social networks, and the way they operate, leading to the deletion of my Google Plus account and shuttering of my Twitter profile.

I can't help but, personally, make a parallel with religion.

I was raised Catholic, went to church and Sunday school, and was confirmed at the age of 9. But it was not my choice, I was railroaded through it all out of a sense of duty.

Confirmation is supposed to be when you are saying that this is the path for you, a conscious devotion, but that's when I said I didn't believe and wasn't going to go any more.

I don't dislike religion per se, people can believe whatever they want, but I resent organised, hierarchical religion full of dogma and doctrine.

Individuality is frowned upon and you can't do things your way without being considered a pariah.

James' post about social co-opting identity spoke to me on multiple levels; individuals are absorbed into the homogeneous mass that is the stream to serve nothing more than the greater good.

We are just content and clicks, entries and engagement, virtually indistinguishable from any other. Beholden to the almighty algorithm we willingly stand in line, just another user, waiting to receive our digital communion.

Unless we do something about it.

In the push for mainstream adoption that which should celebrate our individuality instead consigns us to anonymity.

What's the old saying? Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it!

  1. frank says: #
    @colinwalker I would retweet you if I could here πŸ˜‰ But your post struck a nerve. I totally agree and feel the same way. It looks we even walk the same path (social media, church etc) so thanks for giving me the words to say how I feel as well. Appreciated!
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  2. For what it’s worth, I’m a Christian and I’m not overly fond of organised, hierarchical religion either–not least of which because, in the case of Christianity at least, it doesn’t reflect the organic nature of the early Church described in the book of Acts. (I’m part of a small, informal, home-based fellowship myself.)

    I’m also not a fan of forcing kids to do stuff. Although my wife and I pray and talk with our kids about God a lot, we also encourage them to ask questions and never force them to participate in church. I agree that it should be their choice. If they find expression of faith in their lives, we want it to be real, not secondhand or a product of coercion.

    I hear you about individuality too. I’ve struggled with that, in the context of my faith (and my church experience), but I’ve come to the conclusion that the church has (wrongly) tried to use external control (read: rules) to bring about changes in people’s lives that only God can bring about, and in doing so has created a culture of conformity. Certainly God wants to deal with our self-centredness, but not remove our individuality. He made us (from my point of view anyway), after all!

    And, of course, you’re singing to the choir about social media. πŸ™‚

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    1. Colin Walker says: #
      That’s a fantastic outlook, Chris. Thanks for the comment.

      I normally avoid subjects like this as you’re never sure of how people are going to react. If only more people could have such a sensible approach.

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