Sunday, January 05, 2014

MAR Keynote Course - getting things started

Despite my best intentions I have not made any blog posts since last January when they were required for my 21st Century Media and Religion course. My one solace is that most of my classmates also haven't been updating their blogs, so that does help a little.

One of the reasons that I haven't been posting is my personal struggles with my online brand. In their book Click2Save Elizabeth Drescher and Keith Anderson speak to this. One of the things they talk about is how your online presence is going to be a mix of your personal and professional lives but I'm still not comfortable with that entirely. Part of me has avoided blogging on technology topics here because I'm not sure what the audience will be (I have posted on technology topics on other forums like, but then I also don't put effort into blogging religious topics because frankly most of my efforts on that front go into class work.

Regardless, here I am taking another course that requires blogging so at least for another week things will be active in this space again. Perhaps this time I'll get more into the habit of blogging and will also become more comfortable with a mixing of my technological and theological selves. I'm hoping that this course will lead me to resources that will help with that process. I can already see that there is a lot of discussion happening in the area of media and religion but so far I have not been plugged into the right people and places where those discussions are happening.

We have already been exposed to a few people that I'm sure I'll want to read more from, including one of our professors Dr. Mary Hess. I just finished reading her paper titled "Mirror Neurons, The Development Of Empathy, And Digital Story Telling" in which she briefly discussed the differences between sympathy and empathy and urges that as Christians we should prefer empathy. I found this interesting in light of recent news that Facebook is testing a "Sympathize" button. If Facebook were to provide a function to sympathize with others how would we approach that from a Christian perspective? Are the subtleties between sympathy and empathy too little to urge Facebook to provide different functionality? Would the majority of Christians put enough distinction between the words to justify the need? Incidentally, Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly an atheist, so would he even care if Christians urge a distinction?

These are interesting questions that I'm hoping to develop the tools to help try and answer.


Nicole Roop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicole Roop said...

Chuck, I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts in class as we keep moving in the curriculum due to your background. I agree with you on the struggle in keeping your professional world, not exactly separate but, distinct from your coursework and religious views. Ironically, this is something I touched on in my blog entry yesterday. And thanks for the links to Dr. Hess' article and the 'sympathize' button concept. You are right in that many do not understand the emotional or spiritual difference between sympathy and empathy.

Unknown said...

Chuck, I am looking forward to hearing from you as you are much better with technology than I am and I am hoping that I can learn more from you! I am new to blogging and so far I am not a huge fan but that might change through this class! I think as a future teacher you have to separate your personal and professional lives to a degree for example the types of things I might do on moodle with my students would be different from how I would interact with my very close friends and family on Facebook, my students are not privy to my private life I think the Dresher book talked about that in one of the chapters. I think that alone is an interesting concept how and why and when is it appropriate to act certain ways with certain people. I will look forward to your input in class!

Mary Hess said...

I think it's fascinating to watch facebook try and figure out how to give people more room to identify their responses -- and I have a hunch that has to do with the ongoing and LOUD requests for a "dislike" button.

ihakk said...

It would be interesting to know the discussions that take place at Facebook as they decide upon the changes they make in the range of options available for responses. I'll admit to being a cynic, and thinking that the religious background (or lack of one) occupies a low priority in such discussions. ... rather, it's likely that the almighty dollar (i.e., figuring out what makes the most money for the company) is at the top of the list.

Did you know that Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan were the largest donors to charity in 2013? (Story is at