This is an increasingly relevant question as self-styled “online communities” such as Reddit or Facebook show no signs of slowing down their exponential growth. And it’s increasingly important for churches too, as many churches start up blogs, webcasts, online prayer submissions, bible study chat rooms, virtual worship, virtual counseling, and more. It’s foolish to deny all validity to these methods of communication — after all, being able to remain in communication with friends halfway around the world can greatly strengthen a relationship — but I remain skeptical of community in the virtual space.
Historically, being a member of a community requires a different mode of interaction than does being an individual in a public space. Because communities are locally placed, the individual generally did not have a choice as to what community he or she belonged. Continue reading
(Side note: I really wanted to call this post “A Tablet A Day Keeps the Luddites Away” for the sake of humor, but the current title was more descriptive)
The above picture is why my post is a bit late — I wanted to wait to post until after Microsoft’s mystery product announcement on Monday evening. As suspected by the rumor mill, this is Microsoft’s new tablet, called Surface, and its announcement at this time is indicative of where the personal computing culture has been and where it is going.
News articles are popping up all over the place claiming that tablet sales will soon outstrip laptop sales by 2013, or 2015, or 2017. While these figures are generally sensationalized claims based on faulty linear extrapolation of current sales figures, surveys do indicate that tablets are becoming more and more popular. A Yahoo study from only two months ago (link) indicates that the tablet is filling in important place in the U.S. home. From the article:
The 2,000 U.S. respondents participating in the study were aged between 18-64 years, and were asked questions on their tablet usage and habits, in order to uncover who’s really using them, where they take them, and just how far they’ll go to keep them. Some additional findings are outlined below:
- 15% would give up their car for an entire year to be able to keep their tablet; that would equate to 45 million fewer cars on the road, meaning less traffic and a whopping 270 million tons fewer greenhouse gases (CO2) emitted per year.
- Tablets are now the second most fought over device in the living room, just behind desktops/laptops, and ahead of TV remotes.
- A third of men frequently take their tablet to the bathroom. 40% of women never take the tablet to the bathroom.
- A quarter of women are happy to give up sex (25%) to keep their tablet. As for men? Only half as many men would give up sex (13%).
- The tablet is the go-to wind-down device: 91% use their tablet in bed.
The popularity of the tablet form factor tells us a lot about the direction of the current personal computing culture. Continue reading