Posted by George Morrison

Using the Smartphone                    Word on the Week                  29th June 2019.

It could be said that to use the Smart Phone you need to have smart people!   But then again it depends on how adventuresome you are in opening all those pretty icons.   I expect for many of us we are content to use the ones we know and leave the remainder.

The problem for many is that the holder of your data will not leave you alone.   In fact, with the commanding position over the other platforms – the majority it actually owns – Facebook has you taped!    You never knew you were so popular.   So many friends!   How wonderful to open your smartphone and discover you have 98 friends, all wanting to contact you.     

Of course the reality is somewhat different!   This is the make-belief world created by algorithms working on data, 1. Yours 2. The people you know and 3. The people who know them!   Assuming all are users of Facebook.   Out of this pool you are encouraged to ‘wave’ or ‘like’ your way into facebook-land where people are born, marry but never die!

In this sanitised world, where only the best photos are shown, life is marvellous.   Apparently it all started when a couple of US college students invented a kind of dating agency.   It grew rapidly, leaving the college grounds and produced an income for its founders.   Now it has grown to global dimensions causing the major shareholder in an Irish newspaper, the Independent, to complain that Social Media were sucking the advertising revenue, which is the life-blood of newspapers, out of the system.

So who are the citizens of facebook-land?    They are easily recognisable.   Their heads are down and they are focussed on the smartphone in their hands.   They are largely oblivious to everything going on around them.    Others are wired for sound.   The cable which comes from their ears may be mic-wired which, when activated, gives the impression of speaking to themselves!

What has all this to do with developing Church life?   Since ‘everybody’ has a smartphone we have an efficient prayer circle with prayer requests transmitted via ‘WhatsApp’.    This is a closed group from the Church and operates efficiently dealing with requests on a real time basis.

Our text cards, which previously highlighted an appropriate Biblical text now show a bar-code!    This is thanks to Michael who showed me how use it to tap into a portion of scripture (thanks Google) on the internet.   Part of the usefulness of this venture is it gives the user access to the whole Bible, which is on line.   This presents a good reason for keeping switched on and head down!     The current bar-code offers a remedy for stress.   It’s found in St Matthew Chapter 6 verses 25 to 34.