More and more of us are alone in a crowd.
In a recent Breakpoint commentary, John Stonestreet talks about how our use of digital technology tends to isolate us. He writes: “The tendency to isolation in a super-connected world is only beginning to make headlines. Yet there’s another problem: new user-smart technology now ensures we often see different headlines.
“In an unsettling TED talk from 2011, Eli Pariser explains how Facebook, Google and other major news sites now display different content for different users. Algorithms keep track of each person’s browsing habits and tailor search results and news feeds to show only what the software guesses we want to see.
“Sitting in front of screens, cut off from real human contact, we’re becoming even further isolated in what Pariser calls a filter bubble, where all we hear are echoes of our own opinions.
“We Christians of all people should know that, as the great Christian poet John Donne wrote nearly 400 years ago, ‘No man is an island, entire of itself.’ As Paul reminds us, ‘you are the body of Christ, and each of you is a part of it.’ Yet too often we find ourselves living on our own little virtual island, cut off from our brothers and sisters in Christ.
“Well, it’s time to get off our islands. As the brilliant Dr. Sherry Turkle explains in her book Alone Together,” we do that not by ditching phones, tablets, computers or social media accounts, but by reclaiming control over them.” (Click here to read the full column.)