A college student, when I asked her how she was, responded by saying “check my Facebook status”. We live in a ‘hyperconnected’ world, a world in which many different means of communication are used; more specifically social networking sites. You are never more than one click or tap away from millions of people all over the globe. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Emails or some other form of connectedness, we are bombarded with connections. We are famous in our own world. We want people to ‘like’ our statuses, retweet our tweets and reply to our emails, in a way that has never been seen before. With the rise in smart phones our level of connectedness is only going to increase. We live in a ‘switched on’ ethos and rarely take ourselves offline and never consider the impact of our hyperconnected society on our lives. Facebook gives us a stage, a microphone and a spotlight to perform to an invisible audience. It allows us to live out our teenage desires where the world is watching and listening to our life and beliefs. Cyberspace allows us to have a platform to voice our life to our followers; those who will listen. The effect of this hyperconnected culture is to transform our relationships from friendships to audience members to whom we perform.
Everyone is searching for an authentic connection. In connection we find safety and comfort. Most people aretrying to find a nurturing space that allows us to develop as a whole person; maturing inwardly even as we develop outwardly. Henri Nouwen once said “Probably no word better summa
rizes the suffering of our time than the word ‘homeless.’ It reveals one of our deepest and most painful conditions; the condition of not having a sense of belonging, of not having a place where we can feel safe, cared for, protected, and loved.” Nouwen describes a
systemic problem within our hyperconnected culture, a problem we see littered throughout the history of time. We are all looking for a place to call home, a place where we can be ourselves, with people who love and care for us. When we look for a best friend, we go looking for home. When we look for a partner, we go looking for home. We see clearly in Genesis the emergence of the human need for genuine connections when God says “It is not good for man to be alone”. The fullness of humanity can only be expressed through relationship. We are not made to be alone: we are creatures of relationship.
During the past 2 years Facebook has exploded. During the first quarter of 2009 it had 5 million followers joining every week. By the end of 2009 Mark Zuckerberg sent a message to all users informing them that there were now over 350 million people using Facebook, worldwide. In a short period of time (6 years) a massive percentage of the world has been harmonized on the same web based platform. What gravity has enough pull to bring the world together under the banner of Facebook? The human need for Home. We all require authentic connections and a place where we can be liked for who we are. A place we share common interests, interact with like-minded people; a place where we can get the adulation that we all so crave.