A Being On Facebook but not Of Facebook: Using New Social Media Technologies to Promote the Virtues of Jacques Ellul

Ellul Forum 55:1-6 (2014)
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Abstract

In this paper, I wish to show how new technologies come to alter one’s initial enjoyment and comportment towards a hobby. What I show is that new technologies serve to transform leisurely activities into a technique, in the Ellulian sense of the term. I begin from the outside in, as it were, by first articulating what I take a hobby to be. Secondly, I then examine the time-honoured pastime of fishing to show that new technologies, if utilized, either cause the hobby to take on aspects of traditional work or in other cases, causes the hobbyist to quit the activity because the hobby is now deemed undesirable; the technological advancement makes the hobby too easy. Thirdly and finally, I turn my attention to another kind of hobby or leisurely activity, which some have called “Facebooking.” Looking at Facebook through an Ellulian lens, there are, to be sure, some rather unsettling aspects of the activity, but despite this, all is not lost; Facebook may be used as a tool to practice the Ellulian virtue of non-selectivity.

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Brian Lightbody
Brock University

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