[SHIFT Student Ministries Conference] Session 4 – Mark Matlock

Mark’s talk was entitled, “Get Wired, Get Connected, and Other High Tech Cliches.” Mark is the creator of planetwisdom.com. I really enjoyed his talk. He touched on so many things about digital culture that people miss. We can be so cautious of technology. We want to create “safe” places for people to be online. Mark talked about equipping students to be able to navigate the digital world.

One thing that really resonated with me was that, contrary to what we would like to say, technology is not morally neutral. The internet must be looked at as a culture, and as a culture it does make a moral statement. Whether that statement is postitive, negative or both is dependent on who looks at that statement.

Another thing that he challenged people with is that true relationships can be made online. I know that there are many who would argue with that. The reality is that students are doing just that. I’ve done it. Two of my good friendships started online through email and internet forums. Yes, we’ve met face-to-face since initially forming the relationship online, but it was started online, and it was real before meeting in person.

Mark left all of us with a lot to think about.

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