Blog update & our FaceBook page

Cranach_Gesetz_und_Gnade_Gotha

BeliefNet, having purchased Patheos, is planning a new look and new features for its family of blogs.  So watch for changes here at Cranach.  For example, you might notice a difference in how the illustrations are presented.

Actually, that is a minor change I was asked to make as part of the Patheos social media initiative.  In addition to my personal FaceBook page, I have an author page that I set up for this blog.  I have shamefully neglected it.  But no more!

At the urging of my Patheos editor and former student, Bart Gingerich, I am going to develop it into an active companion to this blog.  Not only will I put up links to current Cranach posts, I will include extra features:  background information about the Cranach blog, popular posts from the past, a forum for discussing the blog.

Visit the page, like it, post the links on your FaceBook page, and hopefully this will help bring back that sense of community we had back in the blog’s Golden Age.

 

The end of the written word?

Facebook is predicting the end of the written word–at least on Facebook, which the head of the company in Europe says may well be all video in 5 years.  Suggesting that reading and writing will be all but obsolete (though not completely), Nicol Mendelsohn said, “The best way to tell stories in this world, where so much information is coming at us, actually is video,” which “conveys so much more information in a much quicker period. So actually the trend helps us to digest much more information.”

This is not true, as media expert Neil Postman has shown.  It certainly isn’t “quicker” to watch a video, as opposed to scanning a few paragraphs.  And the information value of videos is quite low, if you are looking for ideas and facts, as opposed to emotional experiences.  And “stories” can be told with much more depth in writing, as nearly any comparison with a movie and the novel it was based on will prove.

And yet, I can see Facebook and other online media replacing the written words with visual images and oral performances. This would be in line with the predictions of another media scholar, Marshall McLuhan, who said that when this happens, we will revert back to a pre-literate culture, one that is tribal, anti-rational, and functionally primitive. [Read more…]

I am now on Facebook!

There is this thing called Facebook, and the way it works is. . . .OK, I’m not what you would call an early adopter.  But at the urging of students (you, Thomas Hererra!), Patheos, relatives, and the climate of the age, I now have a Facebook page.

It’s a writer’s page, like those they have for businesses, so it’s public and open for all.  It works not by “friends” but by “likes.”  Please “like” it.  My page will have links to my blog posts, so those who “like” my page will get those links, as will your “friends” and their “friends” and the Cranach nation will grow and grow.

But I’m not just going to post links to my blog.  I will take you inside the vast Cranach empire, talking about blog-related background information, and also talking about my other books, articles, projects, and speaking gigs.  You will also see what I approximately look like, though before I got my current cooler glasses.

As I say in the introductory piece on my Facebook page, I also want to hear from you.  If you come across an interesting article or bit of information, send me the link via Facebook.  Or if you think of a good topic for our discussion, send me your suggestions.  I want to build up the sense of community that we used to have on my blog.  I’ve got some other ideas for what I’d like to do with this page, which I’ll tell you about later. [Read more…]

Supreme Court takes up Facebook threats

Does this message from an estranged husband to his wife after she filed a restraining order against him sound like a threat to you?

“Fold up your PFA [protection-from-abuse order] and put it in your pocket.  Is it thick enough to stop a bullet?”

Does it matter that it was posted on his Facebook page?  The poster is claiming that rants posted on social media should not be taken seriously and should have free speech protection.  The poster argues that his violent fantasies about killing his wife are no different from what his hero, Eminem, raps about and so deserve protection as artistic expressions.

The Supreme Court has taken up the case.  Oral arguments begin December 1.  What do you think about this?

[Read more…]

The 58 gender options

When you give your gender, that used to be a clear choice between “male” or “female.”  But now, given the LGBT revolution, Facebook is giving 58 options.  See the complete list after the jump. [Read more…]

How the Democrats used FaceBook

The Washington Post is publishing excerpts from its reporter Dan Balz’s book on the last presidential election: Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America.  Monday’s installment was about how the Democrats’ sophisticated use of technology to target their message and get out the vote.  After the jump, an account of what the Democrats did with FaceBook. [Read more…]