Today the world is literally at our fingertips. We can call, text, email, or post our status to friends and family on the go. We can carry countless games, music, and apps in our pocket. Yet it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by access to so much information and exhausted from managing our online relationships and selves.*
Digital Technology is in the fabric of our world, we use it everyday to function as a society, to keep in contact with people and to run businesses. Craig Detweiler explores the history behind some of the companies that have really shaped the way we live our lives. He goes behind the scenes of Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Amazon. He looks at how these creative companies changed the way we work, shop, build communities and walk with Jesus. While unfolding the history and aims of these companies, he also reveals some of their effects – both good and bad on our lives.
This book is challenging and what I think is rather unsettling about all of this, is that we don’t really know the long-term impact of online shopping, social media and a library full of information we can pick up whenever we want. There have been hints of the potential good that can come out of it all, but also on the other end of the scale, there could be destruction of real face to face communities where isolation is rampant, shops closing down and people losing jobs and an overwhelming amount of information at our finger tips that allow us to be jack of all but master of none.
It was helpful to have Craig Detweiler bring in a Christian perspective that not only highlighted some of the warning signs of using such technologies, but also celebrating the triumphs and good things that these companies have achieved. It was enjoyable and interesting to read. As someone who did a degree in Computing and IT around the time when Facebook was beginning to establish itself, it is interesting to see how much they have grown in the last 10 years and where technology may be heading next!
And what about our spiritual lives? As Craig says:
“Where shall we express our hopes and fears? If we post our concerns on Facebook, we may forget to cast our cares on the Lord, the one who sustains us in our sorrows.”
This is easy to do as I wake up every morning and turn on my phone instead of getting on my knees in prayer. And yet it connects me with people in the world that need prayer, it links me to find information about certain theological topics quickly so I don’t have to try to find it in the local library. There is a balance.
But more than ever, Christians must be vigilant. With the enemy prowling round like a roaring lion, we need to be awake and engaged in what we are doing. We can not be caught up in the promises of Facebook and the advertising of Google where we can become our own igods – omnipresent on Facebook and omniscient on Google. Falling into a trap that I can be a certain way on social media but different face to face. That as I create my profile, I can fashion it and craft it to bring the best out of me and get people to admire me.
I am the centre. I am the igod.
Suddenly Jesus falls out of focus.
I would recommend this book to you, even just for an understanding of how these companies came about and how they have changed over the years. I think Craig Detweiler writes well and raises some good points, both good and challenging about the digital technology we use every day. And as he brings in a Christian perspective, it can help us have a bit more wisdom about what we do with digital technology and how much we should use it.
You can buy this book here: iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives