rebelling against low expectations

Facebook, Friendship, and the Search for Real Community


As digital technology becomes more embedded in our culture, the need to discuss how it is shaping our lives increases. That is why this lecture, delivered Dr. Felicia Song on the campus of Cornell University, is so important. Dr. Song is a sociologist, a Yale graduate, and a Christian. In this 30-minute lecture, she focuses on how Facebook and other technologies impact friendship and community.

If you enjoy the lecture, be sure to check out the the Q&A session.

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“Social media promotes the idea that life is being lived elsewhere. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you are potentially missing out on something more important.”

“Friendship becomes little more than the daily management of information. And as such, we begin to engage in friendships as a form of consumption.”

“One of the main costs of networked individualism is a growing insensitivity to one’s immediate surroundings and inability to be present where one is.”

“There is no acknowledgement of the fact that we are indeed embodied persons, which means more than merely being physically present somewhere, but warrants an active presence of mind and spirit.”

“The argument goes, ‘We choose how we use these technologies.’ But this is dangerous because it implies that they are neutral. To believe they are only tools is to be naive to the shaping influence of our technological structures; how some choices of how to use them are structured to be easier to make than others.”

“We need to begin by recognizing that we are all engaged in a great experiment, in uncharted territory, with huge implications that have yet to play out.”

“Social media is still very young and what happens with it largely depends on what we want from it. We still have opportunities to develop etiquette for how we use technology and that put technology in it’s proper place, rather than having it bleed into every crevice of our lives.”

“We need to start asking the hard questions about the socio-technical practices that are currently being embedded into our lives. Questions such as:

  • How does social media privilege certain people in the same way that physical beauty and appearance is privileged in face-to-face interactions?
  • In social media, who are the persons that are being ignored? Who are the new untouchables?
  • What does it look like to practice hospitality online?
  • What do acts of sacrifice and selflessness look like within the online context?”
Question: What do you think of Dr. Song’s arguments? Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts below. There are currently __ Comments.

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.

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rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →