— Why Would the Facebook Founder’s Sister Tell People To Stop Sharing?

November 7, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Posted in Online Ministry | Leave a comment

Answer to the question in the headline above: The young adults who founded facebook are starting families of their own and their babies don’t want them online. Pure and simple. Sound familiar? In REACH: A UU Digital Ministry, I discussed the effects of human/computer interaction in the last 30 years and cited kids who beg their parents to put down their phones and be with them.

Randi Zuckerberg, sister to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and a former Facebook exec herself, says she realized she shouldn’t be on her cell phone when with her baby.

In her new book, Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives, Zuckerberg unleashes her revelations that too much sharing online and too much time on Facebook with people we don’t really know well in our offline lives, is potentially very damaging.

Duh. Since sharing first began on the Internet, people have worked hard to protect privacy and meaningful connections through sharing. And oh, lest I forget to remind not only you dear readers but also myself: I have one of the first patents for Sharing Digital items ever to have been issued. It and three others are owned by Facebook. The name of one particular invention is “Sharing of Digital Items.” I have others that are related that created the ability for people to annotate with words or through manipulation of content what they are sharing — translation: comment on and/or edit. Plenty of other people have related patents but these are among the meaningful souvenirs of my career. (I’m an inventor but I don’t own the patents, AOL, Facebook and others do. I initially received $1,500 for each patent from my employers. I turned over two of those checks to UU Association Sundays.)

Back to Zuckerberg’s book. It’s all about Randi’s experience, right? (sarcasm intended) After all, her book’s written as if her revelations are earth shattering. Never mind the 30 years of research by Sherri Turkle, author of Alone Together. Never mind that the 2013 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of  Mental Disorders, for the first time, includes a category on machine-human disorders and recommends that Internet Addiction Disorder be studied more.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing lots more from last decade’s 20 somethings who wanted to bare all, share all and stare at all, online. It was fine then because that’s what they wanted to do and they thought everyone else would want to as well. And the usage data of social media could be interpreted to support the claim.

I’m glad sister Zuckerberg wrote the book, for her name and accomplished credentials will draw readers. To me her book harkens a sea change I predicted in REACH. And the prediction appears to be right on schedule. The age of uncertain longing and yearning is now on Zuckerberg’s generation’s horizon, and it’s dawning in the faces of its children and  also in the hearts of these new parents.

And their kids are about 3-5 years away from being UU RE age. Some UU churches, in fact, are experiencing the beginning of this next wave. The UU Church of Arlington, VA, my former church, beefed up its nursery offerings to bring in this generation’s babies and parents now.

I’m hopeful that this generation may be the wave that propels UUism into a wholehearted way of living out of an aspirational stage in which it appears to be stagnating.

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