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June 26, 2011


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Laura Sykes

Thank-you for this great start to my Sunday morning as light dawns both literally and figuratively. And on the day we celebrate Corpus Christi too (yes, I know it should have been Thursday).

I understood every word - the transparency of language allowed me easily to follow your 'seven commandments', which allows my brain to concentrate on checking that I follow them.



As someone who was dipping in and out of #MediaLit11 via Twitter,(so without always following the thread of the presentations and discussion) I have found these posts on the Principles of New media in a Digital Age to be very helpful in thinking about online life and how to live it. I follow a "Rule of Life" in the offline world and these discussions have enabled me to adapt this to make a "Rule of Online Life" too. I try to be the same person 'in essence' online and offline and 'availability' and 'vulnerability' are keywords.
I try to put God at the centre of my virtual world, just as I try to put God at the centre of my real world.
Incidentally, I believe we were made for relationships, but not just human-human relationships. We are not just physical bodies, but rather 'embodied souls'. There has to be a human-divine relationship too. We are not just physical beings, we are able to have a relationship with God in this world without yet seeing him face to face, constantly journeying towards and into God. I agree that we extend into other places, our houses are on earth, but our home is in heaven!


Thanks Pete, this is beautifully written! The only point I would add to 5 is that I heard Andrew talking about thinking about how/where our technology is produced... as a few of us tweeted whether it's possible to get a "fair trade" laptop?


As ever,Pete, you have distilled many words into pithy wisdom. I love your "seven rules". I love even more the fact that you live by them.



Excellent summary. Just to answer your implied question, I have no inside information from the church. I write from publicly available information almost all the time. Where I do get 'inside' information, it is because I ask the relevant press office for information and they tell me. In these circumstances, I clearly state that this is where I got the information from.

Every now and then someone emails me with a tip off with information on something or other. So far, I don't think I've ever posted this without first confirming things with the relevant press office.

Sam Peckham

Thanks for this recap and your thoughts Pete.

Two thoughts, I think I side more with Andrew on the online pseudonym issue - see here http://www.feba.org/newmedia/?p=99

And as you have Authenticity twice on the list I suggest Integrity is the greater issue around this area.

Regarding TheChurchMouse example hypothetically if the nom de plume helps him
do his work then I question the integrity of that. Having to disguise yourself in order to write what you do raises some concerning questions for me.

However, we know from his/her reply that the sources are cleared first, which is great, I respect that. But my query then turns to what do you gain from this pseudonym, what do you loose by just having a profile page about the real you on your blog?

I'll hold my hand up and say I don't get the pseudonym thing, so please don't be offended, I'm just intrigued as to why so many defend the idea??

Timothy Hutchings

I don't agree at all with Andrew's views on pseudonymity, and I would guess (perhaps wrongly) that this reflects our different experiences with new media. But here are three points to consider:

1. Christianity has historically valued pseudonymity rather highly. The Bible is full of characters who change their names to signify a new start. Monks and nuns (and baptized Christians, in some traditions) take new names. In fact, anonymity has traditionally been seen as a valid part of spiritual growth and healing - think of the anonymity of the confessional. These examples should at least encourage a bit more thought about the value of being separated from your name.

2. Offline, it is easy to separate the different areas of my life, and behave in one way with my family and in a different way at work. This is not dishonest or inauthentic - it's a basic part of being human (and polite). The Internet makes this almost impossible. Pseudonymity is one way to recreate the kind of separation of spaces that we need to be authentic.

3. Pete suggests that pseudonymity creates an imbalance of power. Actually, what creates imbalance is names, because names signal offline power and authority. Pseudonymity unsettles that existing imbalance by allowing Joe Bloggs to talk back to Bishop Bloggs without being prejudged by his (lack of) offline reputation. Is this why people with offline reputations, who might expect to have some extra attention in the conversation, seem most offended by pseudonymity?

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