Is the Digital Tide Turning?

Is some sanity returning to our use of digital technology?

I admit, it’s a cloud about the size of a baby’s little finger, and there are still some statistics going in the opposite direction, but these trends, which support anecdotal evidence, may indicate a significant societal shift. I hope so. Perhaps, in a few years, many of us will look back at the way we allowed our technology, phones, and social media to take over our lives and replace reality, and think, “What. Was. I. Doing?”

 

Is the digital deluge beginning to abate? After years of digital tsunamis sweeping everything (including ourselves) before them, are we seeing the tide turning? Is some sanity returning to our use of digital technology?

Why do I suggest that? Consider these trends:

Twitter down: Twitter earnings, new user numbers, and ad revenue are slumping. (Forbes)

Facebook down: Sharing on Facebook has taken a dive. 34% of users updated their status and 37% shared their own photos in the last quarter, down from 50% and 59% for the same period last year. (Wall Street Journal)

Online learning down: Despite the digital glitz, online learning has failed to match the teacher at the front of the class. A major report, based on research in 17 US states with online charter schools, has found “significantly weaker academic performance” in maths and reading in these virtual schools compared with the conventional school system. (BBC)

eBooks down: Digital books accounted for about 20% of all books sold last year. But eBook sales fell by 10 percent in the first five months of this year (New York Times). Amazon have even opened their first bricks-and-mortar store in Seattle (Wall Street Journal)

Comments down: Major bloggers like Michael Hyatt and Tim Challies have removed the commenting feature from their blogs, as have other major media organizations like Recode, Reuters, Popular Science, The Week, Mic, The Verge, The Chicago Sun-Times, and USA Today’s FTW.

Blogs down: Other major bloggers are calling it quits. (Christianity Today)

I admit, it’s a cloud about the size of a baby’s little finger, and there are stillsome statistics going in the opposite direction, but these trends, which support anecdotal evidence, may indicate a significant societal shift. I hope so. Perhaps, in a few years, many of us will look back at the way we allowed our technology, phones, and social media to take over our lives and replace reality, and think, “What. Was. I. Doing?”

David Murray is Professor of Old Testament & Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. This article first appeared on his blog, Head Heart Hand, and is used with permission.