It’s been a long three months since we’ve been together, and while pubs and restaurants have begun to reopen, with limited capacity, PubTheo is not quite ready to bring it all back to the pub.
But … several of our regulars have asked whether we can gather for conversation via video conference, especially before we take our usual summer hiatus at the end of June. And the answer to that is a resounding YES! Read to the bottom of this post for details about how to join the conversation. Now, on to the topic …
An issue that we have come back to over and over again in our PubTheo discussions has been that of the increasingly complex (and often confusing) role that social media has come to play in all our lives. This has become all-too apparent now in this fraught moment of coronavirus information (and misinformation), social protest, and social unrest. As this article from the Wall Street Journal puts it, social media has become one more battlefield in the struggle to set the narrative surrounding the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the nationwide protests that followed:
Social media played a critical role in galvanizing the protesters through the quickly shared video around Mr. Floyd’s arrest, said Alex Stamos, director of Stanford University’s Internet Observatory. “It nationalizes local issues like this,” he said, adding that “maybe 20 years ago this might have only been covered at the local press.”
The unrest also has fueled an online battle over how they are viewed, said Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford law professor and co-director of the California university’s Cyber Policy Center, said the riots also have turned into an online battle of opposing viewpoints. “There is a fight on social media as to how to portray the events on the ground,” he said.
Connected to this is the rise of social media manipulation in order to shape public opinion and public attitudes, an phenomenon which some warn may threaten democracy itself. This article is a useful summary of these cautionary points.
Of course churches and faith communities are themselves relying extensively on social media to stay in touch with their members during this period when congregations are unable to meet in person due to fears of the pandemic.
So we are going to revisit the question of social media and its impact on our lives, for good and ill, in our virtual conversation this week. And one of the things we want to think about is whether churches and faith communities are immune from the problems with social media that we all recognize.
Join us for the conversation tomorrow evening beginning at 7pm. We will use Zoom as our platform. Copy the link below into your web browser and join us for the discussion.
Topic: Virtual Pub Theology
Time: Jun 16, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 894 8948 1455