Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Virtual Community"

Shane Hipps and Zach Lind Discuss Virtual Community. from Zach Lind on Vimeo.

Last week at the National Pastors Convention in San Diego Shane Hipps sat down for a brief conversation with Christianity Today to discuss the concept of "virtual community." You can view the video here. As a result of this clip there have been several folks who've pushed back on Shane's point that virtual community is not authentic community but provides only a fraction of what face to face community provides. You can read discussions on the clip here, here, here, and here. So the video above is Shane's response and clarification of his original point expressed on the Christianity Today clip.

If you haven't checked out Shane's new book, Flickering PIxels, to uncover more on this subject, check it out here.



Anne Jackson said...

this was great. thanks for this. i posted a blog on out of ur today in response to shane's original video and scot's follow up. shane's a smart guy.

i am unplugging (today is my fat tuesday) :) for lent. shane's thoughts on the narcissism of it all is spot on. i know because i'm Narcissus...at least i have been for a while.

a year ago i would have argued til i was blue in the face with this. now i just nod and learn and shut up.

thanks again.

wellis68 said...

I just got my copy of Flickering Pixels in the mail. I'm quite excited about it!

wellis68 said...

Just have to share this...
I don't know if you've read "Being Consumed" by William Cavanaugh or not, but I recommend it! But there's a couple of quotes I simply must share with you because they remind me of things you said at the NPC.

"White kids in Illinois can listen to reggae music and feel themselves in solidarity with the struggles of poor blacks in Jamaica. As Vincent Miller points out, however, such types of 'virtual community' tend to reduce community to disembodied acts of consumption... Concrete suffering is abstracted from its context and offered as a commodity. No matter how much the listener feels in solidarity with others, virtual solidarity offers no concrete results. As Miller notes, 'This abstraction impedes the translation of ethical concerns into action, reducing ethics to sentiment. The virtual becomes a substitute for concrete political solidarity, or to put it another way, a fundamentally different act--consumption--is substituted for political action.'" (page 50-51.)

Goes right with what you were saying about virtual community being "one but not the other." It becomes even more important when it "impedes" real ethical response.

James said...

Shane, I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts since you seem to be quite an incisive thinker. I share much of your skepticism regarding virtual community.

I responded to a youtube interview in which you discussed the importance of "shared history" at the NPC - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJkSJmvK7eg - our Anglican Ecumenical Bible Study in Second Life is, I believe, a community which has a "shared history," and I believe this is very important for doing SL ministry.

I'll come back to this video sometime soon, but it would be nice to hear your own thoughts on my response. You are, of course, welcome to visit us any time you like.


Wilfried Ansome

Faded Lady said...

I think Shane is right on point. I agree with his view of virtual community. Those who have a problem with what he is saying should examine the why behind their uncomfortableness with his viewpoint.
Keep up the good work Shane!