Surprise: You’re the New Medium

So get ready for your parents to complain that if you really loved them, you’d keep the snap streak going. -David Pierce, “What Lies Ahead” (Wired, February 2017) The content of the new medium is the what? That’s right: the old medium. Of course, in the digital age, what the hell even is the old or new […]

How Cell Phones, Computers, Gaming and Social Media Are Changing Our Brains

I once got into testy e-mail exchange with a media ecologist over my use of the word addiction in regard to media behavior. He adamantly preferred the word habit for behavior, whether acceptable or problematic, leaving addiction to recovery problems of physiological substance abuse, alcohol, heroin, etc. I had deliberately left out the defining limit […]

More Than a “Like”: Social Media Presence as Pastoral Care

Death and dying are never easy topics to broach. In some cultures, it is taboo to speak or even hint at death. But despite the silence around the topic, death never ceases to march on, ferrying souls from this world to the next. In the digital age the landscape of discussion is changing. No topic […]

Second Nature: Best of 2014

From all of us at Second Nature, we wish you and your families a merry Christmas and happy new year. For our newer readers or for those who might have missed them, here’s a round up of our 10 most popular articles of 2014. (And if you’re curious, here’s our list from 2013). 10. Screwtape […]

Data Privacy and Terms of Service: A Graphic Novel

“What if we’re not getting a fair trade for our information?” asks Josh Neufeld in a new exploration of the bigger questions surrounding data privacy. (Added cool factor bonus: it’s a graphic novel). We’ve gotten used to giving services like Facebook or Gmail access to data about our lives. But as mobile devices have become ubiquitous […]

On Entrapment In a Media Era

Ours is a world of gorging
Half blind.
Looks alright, take a bite,
Leave it behind.

Elizabeth Drescher’s “Tweet If You [Heart] Jesus”: A Review

Tweet If You [Heart] Jesus: Practicing Church in the Digital Reformation, by Elizabeth Drescher. Harrisburg: Morehouse Publishing, 2011. 190 pages. The decline of American “mainline” Protestant denominations in the latter half of the 20th century is a well-documented phenomenon. Many explanations for the exodus have been given, with theories ranging from the appropriation of liberal […]

Look Up

“I have 422 friends, yet I’m lonely.” This is for all of us who need a reminder to shut our computers and look up from our smart phones, but who respond better to advice when it rhymes. Written, performed and directed by Gary Turk, who describe his video as ” a lesson taught to us through a love story, in […]

God’s Grandeur in the Media Environment

Part six in our Lenten series on technology and spirituality. At the beginning of Lent, we examined how time-saving technology often has the tendency to help us do more work in less time and then fill up our extra time with new kinds of work. I think we intuitively realize this and commit ourselves to media […]

Weapons of Self-Restraint

Part 2 in a series of Lenten reflections on technology and spirituality. On Ash Wednesday, we prayed this collect at the beginning of our church service: Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed […]

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