Wednesday, July 28, 2010

facebook, friends, poachers, penpals Oh My

I think facebook can be a complete waste of time, where most adults behave like adolescent teens. It can also be an extreme danger for young people who fail to distinguish between reality and the virtual world. They don't yet understand the long term consequences for indiscretion and obvious predator dangers.
However if weeded through the jungle of junk it is a valuable tool. I have connected with strangers or people once unknown to me and now we are in fact having a genuine exchange which is fully authentic. It is the modern pen pal scenerio.  I am afforded the ability to connect with individuals who are worlds away, where the realistic logistics of communication would be virtually impossible; especially noting my spiritual fathers and brothers in Constantinople and across the United States and Europe.
As for the online discussions broaching anything scholarly is hardly visible. What is painfully obvious is the hostility and what people are knowingly willing to inject into a discussion and how real their intentions are shown. For many who visit extreme blogs or websites which profess deeper understanding and are experienced in slander and character assassination, facebook can be a great equalizer giving many a voice and preview.
Too often on dedicated websites like AOI or OCL they become like a mob of over zealous and easily roused simple-minded radicals. I prefer to serve on plenaries but they are far-in-between. Too often topics are narrowly defined and preferential treatment is given to clergy and insiders. Additionally, symposiums can be hosted by many who serve their own ends. Someone outspoken and less politically correct as I am  generally not invited. An advantage to social networks is time to research, fact search  and consult before responding to the sometimes outlandish and other times nuanced positions.
Outreach or the appearance of the lack thereof, has been a pitfall or indictment of the GOA and the EP and orthodoxy in general; social networking forums permit those who choose, who may be seeking and who are practicing christians to have access 'a backstage pass' if you will, to clergy, bishops, iconographers, social workers, writers, activists etc. a cross section of the church.
Remember to check and recheck your sources there are wolves pretending to be sheppards, there are heretics poaching the faithful and of course there are true gems to be found.

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