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The Church of Facebook: How the Hyperconnected Are Redefining Community Paperback – October 1, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A revolution is underway. A Wi-Fi, worldwide movement that is changing how we interact with others. It's a seismic shift that is redefining the idea of community. Every day millions of people connect through online social networks, sites that allow us to follow our friends, and shape how they view us.

But while personal profiles are revealing, they hint at even larger truths. They uncover our desire for identity, our craving to be known, and our need to belong.

Jesse Rice believes that Facebook offers a profound look at our deepest needs. Join Jesse as he explores social networking and its impact on culture and the church. Filled with fresh perspectives and provocative questions, The Church of Facebook encourages us to pursue authentic relationships with God and those around us.

About the Author

Jesse Rice is a Contemporary Worship Arts Director at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, a large and thriving congregation in the heart of Silicon Valley. Living at this crossroads of faith and technology, Jesse is an authority on the search for meaning in a fast-paced, too-much-information world. He is a sought-after worship leader with almost fifteen years of experience working with college students and young adults. He and his wife live in Palo Alto, California.

 

 

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 231 pages
  • Publisher: David C. Cook (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1434765342
  • ISBN-13: 978-1434765345
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,171,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I heard about Jesse Rice's book, "The Church of Facebook: How the Wireless Generation is Redefining Community" from an interview he did on a podcast. The topic of online community and whether or not it can be authentic is of interest to me.

I wasn't sure what to expect; perhaps a Christianized critique of the whole social networking phenomenon complete with a set of warnings for believers and suggested rules for underage children. Thankfully this is not Jesse's book. Instead it opens with a fascinating story of the opening day on the Millennium Bridge crossing the Thames River in London. The unexpected shaking that day on the pedestrian footbridge is similar to the online spectacle of Facebook and other social networking sites. Jesse uses this and several other stories at the beginning of each chapter to create a historical framework for interpreting our online interactions. Jesse has done his research well and the book is very interesting because of it.

The science of connecting with others, of creating a "home" where we feel safe is the subject of chapter one. This is followed by a chapter on revolutionary changes to society and how Facebook is set up to be, if it not already is, a world changer. Chapter three delves into the controls people have of their online presence, of the information they choose to share online with others on their profiles. He poses the question of what we will do with the power we have to create, to shape society, with our online influence. Chapter four studies the impact that all of the new information has on an individual, understanding that people have adapted their behavior with this new way to connect with people, share information and collect new data.
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Format: Paperback
In Church of Facebook: How the Hyperconnected Are Redefining Community, Jesse Rice writes about the need for community, which is deeply engrained in all of us. He explains how Facebook has exploded in popularity by tapping into our desires for connectedness and a place to call home. And he takes a look at some of the ways social networking is impacting individuals and communities.

Here are some of the nuggets of wisdom contained in the book.

CPA - Continuous Partial Attention - This is the impulse to constantly check Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. It's motivated by the desire to not miss anything. It creates an artificial sense of crisis. It can cause a person to become over stimulated and unable to focus on what's right in front of him. (P 102)

"In affect the hyperconnection of Facebook changes the nature of our relationships by turning our friends into audiences and us into performances... Our actions are often based on what we think our invisible entourage might like best." (P 112)

People can become dependent on Facebook for their identity, self-worth, and decision making. (P 145, paraphrase)

"[Genuine] community is less about `best-friendship' and more about intentional engagement with the people in our lives... maybe it's not the increasingly online nature of our relationships that is affecting our relationships most. Perhaps it is our `relational consumerism' that needs changing." (P 172 & 173)

"Life can all to often feel like little more than a knee-jerk reaction to urgent emails, phone calls, meetings, and decisions." (P 190)

The book concludes with a some good tips on how to manage life in this always-on, hyperconnected world many of us find ourselves in today.
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I'm currently in the process of studying how our new technologies, including the social media are changing us. I've reviewed a growing number of articles and books, and almost all of them have a few useful things to say and contribute to my increasing understanding. But The Church of Facebook by Jesse Rice is one of the finest I've come across yet. There is a lot of wisdom in this book about the media we use, as well as a good start in thinking about how we can more wisely use them.

Rice is a writer and musician with a master's degree in counseling psychology who previously served as a worship arts director. He has a bright future as a writer.

The Church of Facebook is actually partially misnamed: Rice doesn't relate Facebook much directly to the church or even use the church as a metaphor for Facebook, although he does deal with community (as the subtitle suggests). What he does do (and does well) is to analyze the ways that the social media, exemplified by Facebook, are changing our behavior and relationships. Unlike some of the other books on the topic I've read, Rice has gone beyond the mere truisms that any book on the subject can tell you. Instead, he goes deeper into the hows and whys of how Facebook and other social media are changing us, and not necessarily for the better.

Rice chose Facebook (FB from now on) because it best represents 3 realities that are work in the technologies we use:

1. "There is a force capable of synchronizing a large population in very little time, thereby creating spontaneous order."
2. "This spontaneous order can generate outcomes that are entirely new and unpredictable."
3.
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