Networked: The New Social Operating System

by Lee Rainie, Barry Wellman. MIT Press, 2012.
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With reason, research, statistics and stories-and without “Ain’t it awful” handwringing or “Isn’t it grand” hyperbole-the authors deliver a smart construct for understanding our new social reality. Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, and Wellman, who directs the NetLab at the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, coined “networked individualism” to describe people connecting to each other through multiple, diverse and loose-knit networks. They say three revolutions led to this social transformation: the rise of social networking, broadband internet capacity, and “always on” mobile devices. While not specifically written for congregations, it takes just a little imagination to see the connections to faith communities. For example, different social networks at different times provide belonging, emotional aid, emergency resources, and social capital. Sound familiar? Without a doubt, “networked individuals” are making an impact on your ministry.

Reviewed by Sue Edison-Swift



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