Archbishop down on social networking

I found a little pastiche of negative headlines about social networking in my in-box yesterday, including one tying obesity to it. (I continue to be mystified by these indicators that people view social media as a “thing” all by itself, somehow separate from life, socializing, behavior, culture, etc., when life online is really just a mirror of all of human life). But the most widely picked up SN story was: “Facebook and MySpace could lead teens to suicide, warns Archbishop Nichols.” Even though the Vatican has a Facebook profile and YouTube channel, and the Pope told youth to use the Internet responsibly a couple of months ago, the Archbishop of Westminster said social sites “are leading teenagers to build ‘transient relationships,’ which leave them unable to cope when their social networks collapse,” UK-based reports, adding that “he said the Internet and mobile phones were ‘dehumanizing’ community life.” Teenagers the BBC spoke with had a different view, however, though some understood where he was coming from, since negative stuff does happen in social sites (and that’s what turns up in the news), though also on phones and other places where people socialize. The main point they made, in the BBC piece, was that social networking is “just a different way of socializing.” Here’s a commentary on the archbishop’s view in The Telegraph, which broke the story.

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