It has been interesting in the week following the Connecticut Tragedy seeing my news-feed fill up with a myriad of different thoughts, some grieving and a bunch related to guns. I will not be adding my thoughts to this debate, but wanted to share an observation.  What has been interesting to me is how the response from my friends on guns has been quite paradoxical. Some have jumped on the gun control bandwagon, using this as an opportunity to promote new laws to limit guns.  Others have taken the opportunity to share that gun sales are up in their community, how schools should arm the teachers and administrators.  I even have a couple of friends who are actually planning on purchasing guns themselves.

No I am not going to post anything advocating new gun laws, nor am I running out and getting a gun.  I believe  wise decisions are made without emotions clouding them. Neither side of this debate wants to see innocent children murdered…we can agree on that.

Help With A Project

Would love your help with a project I am working on for one of my seminary classes. I have decided to do my Cultural Analysis project on Facebook.  Basically I have to answer the question; “How has it changed culture?” Now that’s a huge question I know, so to narrow it down I want to ask you on a micro-level, How has Facebook changed your life? While it might seem like it has always been part of our lives, remember before February of 2004 no one had a Facebook account.

So fire away via comments, email, twitter, text, snail mail…etc.


The Facebook Generation

Do you have a Facebook page? If you do you are like the estimated 410 million who do…especially more likely of those who read blogs like mine :) Recently I read the below article and thought they had some interesting thoughts about this emerging generation that has never known a world without Facebook.

Is Facebook creating a temptation generation?

Facebook is the digital marshmallow we can’t resist.

By Mel Layos
Back in the late 1960s, researcher Walter Mischel conducted an experiment that has come to be known as the “Marshmallow Test.”

This test consisted of giving marshmallows to 4-year-olds, with the promise of more marshmallows to come if they could delay eating the first for 15 minutes. Those who resisted the sugary treat were shown to do well later in life, while those who failed to resist were more likely to suffer from lower test scores, even issues of drug dependency.

More than 40 years later, Facebook has proved to be an even sweeter marshmallow to its millions of users than any puffed confection Mr. Mischel handed out.

While beginning to write this piece, I couldn’t resist the temptation to check my own Facebook profile.

Has anybody commented on my latest status update? Has Jenna from high school accepted my late-night friend request? I can just click right over and find out, but I know once I do I’ll end up spending the rest of the afternoon playing Scrabble and commenting on tagged photos.

I’m not alone with this struggle. Comb through any random Facebook page and you’ll find people around the world updating statuses from their offices, from classrooms, even from behind the wheel. The deferred rewards of keeping one’s job, learning arithmetic, or even staying alive are no match for the compound-worded monster.

The temptation to let others know how happy or sad we feel, and more important, the numerous supportive messages we’ll receive from our “friends,” is an exercise in deferred gratification that we all lose on a daily basis. And who’s to blame us? With its complicated algorithms and formulas, Facebook takes the legwork out of friendship. Do you know Bob? Why not send a friend request to his girlfriend Jane? You haven’t talked to Lee in a while. Maybe you should send him a message.

Why go through the trouble of going out and cultivating one new friendship when Facebook lets you meet and befriend hundreds in less time than it takes to watch an episode of “Jersey Shore”?

Every day many people do choose the hundreds of online friends over that one real friend. And what’s truly sad is what we’re teaching our nation’s younger, more impressionable generation. Those born after 1990 have never known a world without the Internet, and it’s clear they’re fully ingrained in the culture of “right now.”

In choosing the cozy, instant world of online socializing and gaming over human interaction and exercise, this generation has broken records (and scales) for childhood obesity. According to the latest findings of the Centers for Disease Control, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years.

When I worked at a video-game retailer, I saw much of this behavior firsthand. Children would update their Facebook statuses or tweet from their iPhones while their parents shrugged in a “What can you do?” fashion as they handed me a stack of video games. More often than not, these children were obese.

There are positives to having access to the world at our fingertips. Last year’s violent protests in Iran were made real by the video of Neda Soltan’s death, distributed through sites such as YouTube and Facebook, and footage of the quakes in Haiti helped raise millions of dollars for the rescue efforts. But while many people were called to action by such tragedies, many never made it past the “share” button at the top of their Facebook pages.

When your country leads the way in obesity, it’s time to put down the BlackBerry and pick up a basketball. I’m not advocating a Facebook boycott or a video-game bonfire.

What I am calling for is a little participation in the analog world. Unplug for one day a week. Play flag football instead of Madden 10. Build houses for Habitat for Humanity instead of a barn in Farmville. Meet and befriend real people.

After all, it’s not as if Facebook could give you a ride to the airport.

(You can find the original article HERE)