God loves you
Religion is often perceived as a conservative system, based on the principle of preserving an unchanging tradition. However, with the advent of the digital age religion does not disappear but transformed, and everyone, having a key to the digital space, inevitably interacts with it. Religion is changing, moving to new spaces and other digital media. In addition, the world of computer technology itself is becoming the space for the formation of new foci of the sacred.
I would like to speak not about various examples of the intersection and interdependence of religious experience and digital technologies. No one can be surprised by the fact that representatives of existing religions open temples on the Internet, in the corners of the AppStore and PlayMarket. From especially advanced Dioceses you can even order prayers online. I am wondering if the holy saints then sending them a saint chatbot?
It is believed that religion performs, above all, the ideological (sense) function. Closely related to it as well:
- the illusory-compensatory (psychotherapeutic, consoling) function, the essence of which is religion reimbursement of a person’s dependence on social and natural elements, the severity of being and feelings of powerlessness;
- communicative function — expressed in the communication of believers with each other and with divine beings;
- performing a relative function, religion creates an excellent program of human behavior;
- the integrative function is expressed in helping people to realize that they are a part of the moral community, which is held together by common goals and values, a person is given the opportunity to self-determine in a system of society with similar knowledge, beliefs, and values.
Doesn’t it remind you of anything?
Today, the functions of religions are more or less performed by the Internet, Social Networks and not only, that is, unlimited digital.
Digital loves you
Analytical agency We Are Social and the largest SMM platform Hootsuite jointly prepared reports on the global digital market Global Digital 2018. According to the data presented, today more than 4 billion people use the Internet worldwide, which is 7% more compared to the same period last year. More than half of the world’s population is now online.
Growth was also found in the social media audience. In the past 12 months, the number of people on the most popular social platforms has increased daily by almost 1 million new users. Every month more than 3 billion people interact with social networks. At the moment, the audience of social networks has about 3.196 billion people — this is plus 13% compared to last year.
Not only the number of Internet users has increased, but also the time that people spend on the network. So for the last 12 months, according to GlobalWebIndex, the average Internet user today spends about 6 hours a day using devices and services whose work depends on the Internet connection. This, roughly speaking, is a third of all waking time.
If you multiply this time by 4 billion of all Internet users, it turns out that in 2018 people spent a total of 1 billion years online.
The Internet today, and social networks, in particular, give people the support that religions have previously provided. Having access to the global web, a person can find any comfort, any psychotherapeutic support. Enough websites and communities able to listen, advise, suggest and so on. Everything online. Compensation by the religion of human dependence on social and natural phenomena no longer works. The Internet has become a new religion. Using the resources of the Internet, people can easily find answers to its or others’ questions, may find followers and opponents, can easily find like-minded people to communicate with each other and/or with the higher intelligence of the algorithms of various websites, that are not always obvious and understandable even to programmers, and moreover not understandable to ordinary users. Therefore, some Google or Facebook algorithms become supernatural for many.
In the same way, one can clearly see how digitalization by performing, for example, a relative function, creates certain, simple and understandable programs of human behavior. For example, social networks have created the process of selfies. This whole model of behavior has found support in the real world. Phone manufacturers began to improve cameras, software manufacturers began to create self-editing programs (improving the appearance of the skin, changing the shape of the face, lips, hair, body, absolutely everything). Thousands of companies engaged in the production of selfie sticks.
The integrative function of the digital realm perfectly helps people to become aware of the moral commonality with the millions of people using specific sites or services or simply using the Internet. The web gives the chance to the person for self-determination in a system of society, associations of people with similar knowledge, beliefs, and values.
So tell me why digital today does not perform functions that previously belonged to religions?
Social media love you
Religion (lat. Religare — to connect, connect) — a certain belief system, due to belief in the supernatural, including a set of moral norms and types of behavior, rituals, religious activities and uniting people in organizations (church, ummah, sangha, religious community).
The first social network in the world — SixDegrees.com appeared back in 1997. The number of participants in four years (2001) already numbered about 1 million.
Today, social networks are so firmly rooted in our lives that the top five most popular social sites practically does not change from year to year.
Life in social networks has become a kind of alter ego of every modern person. Because for most people, a profile on a social networking website is not a continuation of its reality but is its second life. Often, everything that happens in the virtual world is taken as seriously, and sometimes much more seriously than what is happening in the real world. Perhaps such sites are popular not only because they offer opportunities for communication at a distance, but also for the reason that they give a person a chance to appear in the virtual world in the image it would like to be in real life, but can’t be because of not enough effort. Often the difference between a person’s profile and his real actions and behavior is huge.
If earlier the number of psychological addictions was more dependent on computer games, today Internet addiction is becoming increasingly common. Probably the same reason: a person in social networks has found more opportunities for self-expression, here it can present itself to anyone and “play” by its own rules of communication.
Thanks to the limited space in photos and videos, it has become much easier to place accents. Anyone with a camera can transform the part of its life visible on social networks in the desired image and likeness. To do this, it is only necessary to hide the unnecessary and highlight the necessary accents. In a social network, a person defines its own image, and determines its virtual existence to be sinful or righteous.
Thus, the behavior of people in social networks is a kind of a certain system of views, due to the supernatural environment within the network, the supernatural opportunity to be anyone and make them believe in this image at least all the inhabitants of the network. Do not forget about the supernatural influence of the social world, the virtual life on the real. You can get real benefits by leading a certain lifestyle in the social and digital world.
“Religion is sincerity,” said the Prophet Muhammad. Likely, social networks are one of the best places to have sincerity. A person has the opportunity to be sincere to the extent that it wishes to show sincerity, without hesitation and the shackles of public opinion and education. The only thing that limits the user of a social network is the rules and norms of the community, which act as the moral code of the norm and rules of behavior and also require certain rites and religious activities.
It is not difficult to see how social networks unite people in, of a kind, organizations (communities), which can easily be compared with churches and find a lot in common.
By the way, Entrepreneur magazine called a number of key trends in social networks, which, one can say with full confidence, will be preserved in the near future.
Stories are becoming more popular. For example, Instagram stories have already been used by 200 million just nine months into its existence. This is 50 million times more than in Snapchat. People actively share their lives, putting at the head of the table themselves, their hobbies, their thoughts, their faces and of course their lives, although not always real.
What used to be a wonder is today an integral attribute of social networks — live broadcasts. A person no longer wants to marry his life with a delayed feedback. More and more people are actively conducting live broadcasts, regardless of whether they have something to share at the moment or not. A certain part of the airs is directed only to the presence of online and the presentation of themselves in order to receive an instant response from subscribers and readers.
More than a million people every day comes into the application Houseparty to join parties and video calls live. Now it is one of the most convenient ways to communicate with a group of friends of up to eight people in real time. The platform was so awesome that Facebook began to look for ways to create similar functionality within its social network.
Thus, social copper is as close as it has ever been to perform with modern religions. They unite people, they are controlled by an unknown and invisible algorithm, they have their own rules and rituals, even the administrators of social networks personify angels and archangels.
It is worth mentioning that the all-powerful God of the social network not only awards life and opportunities in this virtual world but also punishes misconduct. Many social networks have incentives that bring heavenly virtual life closer.
Today, the influence of social media on a person’s life sometimes exceeds the influence of religion or society. New digital tools allow a person to fully immerse themselves in the virtual world and live in it not only one life but as many as it wants. Stories, group chats, live broadcasts, and soon VR/AR technologies, increase the depth of immersion and therefore increase the faith in a social network that allows a person to be realized more easily. Instead of ten years, it may take a month to create a certain image in a social network. How to resist such a temptation?
Now the Internet and social networks are a new religion that creates the present and the future, which offers a person more than real life can offer.
In the name of Facebook, social networks and virtual reality. Amen
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