Great article by Tim Challies on how social media can supplant true friendship and mask loneliness. He writes of a study on a sort-of digital fast:
Could you go just one day without checking e-mail? And without logging in to Facebook? And without using a cell phone? And without turning on your television? Could you go 24 hours without using any media at all? This was a question put forward by the International Center for Media and Public Affairs and a challenge accepted by 1,000 university students worldwide.
Removing media exposed the tenuous nature of relationships in a digital world. These tend to become relationships of convenience, relationships with very little true depth. This study shows us all what we stand to lose as the digital becomes dominant and as we find ourselves more and more comfortable in a world of constant mediation. And perhaps it shows that we are largely oblivious to the nature and scope of this loss. These students are upstream from the older generations. This younger generation tends to adopt early, but eventually all generations find themselves using the same devices in the same way. This study needs to be a warning to each of us, whether young or old.
Read the whole thing. Challies is the author of The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion.