social networking technology

Book Review: Church of Facebook

Written by Paul Steinbrueck

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Church of Facebook by Jesse RiceIn Church of Facebook: How the Hyperconnected Are Redefining Community, Jesse Rice writes about the need for community, which is deeply engrained in all of us.  He explains how Facebook has exploded in popularity by tapping into our desires for connectedness and a place to call home.  And he takes a look at some of the ways social networking is impacting individuals and communities.

Here are some of the nuggets of wisdom contained in the book.

CPA – Continuous Partial Attention – This is the impulse to constantly check Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.  It’s motivated by the desire to not miss anything.  It creates an artificial sense of crisis.  It can cause a person to become over stimulated and unable to focus on what’s right in front of him. (P 102)

“In affect the hyperconnection of Facebook changes the nature of our relationships by turning our friends into audiences and us into performances… Our actions are often based on what we think our invisible entourage might like best.” (P 112)

People can become dependent on Facebook for their identity, self-worth, and decision making. (P 145, paraphrase)

“[Genuine] community is less about ‘best-friendship’ and more about intentional engagement with the people in our lives… maybe it’s not the increasingly online nature of our relationships that is affecting our relationships most.  Perhaps it is our ‘relational consumerism’ that needs changing.” (P 172 & 173)

“Life can all to often feel like little more than a knee-jerk reaction to urgent emails, phone calls, meetings, and decisions.” (P 190)

The book concludes with a some good tips on how to manage life in this always-on, hyperconnected world many of us find ourselves in today.

Do any of the excerpts above strike a chord with you?

If so, post a comment about it.

And you might just want to pick up a copy of Church of Facebook.  It can help you better understand how Facebook and smart phones may be impacting your relationships and your emotional well-being as well as that of the people around you.  You might also want to check out Jesse’s blog at and follow him on Twitter @JesseRice.

[Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book. Links to purchase the book are to an affiliate program.]

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About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.


  • Ha! I should have known you'd be reviewing a copy of this book. I ordered mine a few weeks ago and have it sitting in the "to read soon" pile (as soon as I finish my J-term class).

    So, your review seems to have pointed out several challenges that facebook and related media pose for relationships in our hyperconnected culture. Was his book mostly critical, or did he spend equal time pointing out some of the ways in which relationships can be enhanced and deepened by facebook, twitter, etc.?

    • Neal, that's interesting. I hadn't thought about the quotes I cited or the book in general as being either positive or negative about social networking. The book examines why Facebook has taken off (taking an indepth look at the human need for community), describes how social networking is impacting relationships, community, and society, and then discusses adapting to those changes.

      After some thought, though, I would say the part that looks at the reasons Facebook has exploded is essentially a look at the positives. Afterall, we wouldn't have jumped into social networking if wasn't for all the good things we like about it. The part that looks at adapting to this new reality looks more at the negatives. That makes sense since we wouldn't need to adapt (change) if everything was perfect.

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