In May 2009 the Bishop of Paisley, Rt Rev Philip Tartaglia, issued a pastoral letter — read aloud to every parish in Scotland — cautioning Catholics against an obsessive reliance upon new technology:
“In dialogue with others we need to be wary of the inane chatter that can go on in the digital world which does nothing to promote growth in understanding and tolerance,” he wrote.
“We should avoid an obsessive need for virtual connectedness and develop primary human relationships, pursuing true friendship with real people.
On August 6, 2009, a DOS (“Denial of Service”) assault on Twitter crippled the popular social-networking site for all of two hours. According to CNN, the Twitter blackout left users feeling ‘jittery,’ ‘naked’:
… for people like [Christina] Cimino, who said she “felt naked” without access to Twitter, the attacks were a serious reality check — a chance to evaluate just how dependent they’d become.
“You know how you pat your pockets for your cell phone and your keys? Well it’s that same kind of phantom [limb] with Twitter,” she said. “It’s like, ‘I can’t update! I can’t update!’ It’s just one of those bugs that gets in you.”
She added: “I was pretty upset, actually. It feels like a lifeline for me … Pretty much everyone knows almost every detail of my life by what I’m doing on Twitter.”
“Horrors!!! People will have to communicate face to face!” one user commented on CNN’s SciTech blog. …
Now that Twitter is back online, the No. 1 conversation thread on the site is called “whentwitterwasdown,” where users discuss what they did without their real-time Twitter updates.
FLASHBACK — Over at Alternet, in one of my favorite rants of all time, Alexander Zaitchik wonders: “Can it be long before the entire country is tweeting away in the din of a giant turd-covered silicon aviary?
Ultimately, I suspect this week’s outage may prompt disillusioned users to venture further into the virtual frontiers of Flutter.
(On a serious note, over at American Catholic I chart Pope Benedict’s forays into the world of evangelization-via-social-networking”).