New Book: Digital Diasporas

Reading: Digital Diasporas by Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff

“Conventional wisdom holds that IT (information technologies), especially as it is applied transnationally, poses a threat to nation-states, sovereignty and capacity to govern. IT has “exposed the porosity of geographic and political borders and limited extent of any national jurisdiction” (Montgomery 2002, 26), Wilson’s (1998) literature review found a significant degree of agreement that state sovereignty–and, arguably, capacity–eroded by IT, as a result of state’s increasing inability to control information both within their borders, as well as at the supranational level. (pg. 5-6)” 

Social media is like its own nation-state, populated by multiple diasporas and cultures. The internet is a threat, but only because it is a free state allowing for the exchange of cultures and ideas. Depending upon how a person uses this tool, it can bring either peace or conflict. I pulled this quote from The Atlantic when I wrote “How Facebook’s Big Announcement Can Help Missions“:

“… [O]n a pure population count [Facebook is] bigger than many countries, including the U.S. (323.1 million people as of 2016) Also like a country… [M]any web-watchers do detect country-like features in Facebook. “[It] is a device that allows people to get together and control their own destiny, much like a nation-state,” says David Post, a law professor at Temple University. If that sounds like a flattering description of Facebook’s “groups” (often rallying people with whimsical fads and aversions), then it is worth recalling a classic definition of the modern nation-state. As Benedict Anderson, a political scientist, put it, such polities are “imagined communities” in which each person feels a bond with millions of anonymous fellow-citizens. In centuries past, people looked up to kings or bishops; but in an age of mass literacy and printing in vernacular languages, so Mr Anderson argued, horizontal ties matter more.” From Here

Likewise, we will need people who understand language demographics, provide training to local churches on cross-cultural communication, people in the church willing to use their social media to reach across social media borders, and technology people to help those that struggle with it to grasp simple concepts. This means it will take all of us to work together to accomplish the Great Commission from the church level to the mission organization level.

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