The ‘Church’ of Facebook?

Alex Duke | June 30, 2017

Do you want to halt climate change? Find cures for diseases so people no longer get sick? Modernize democracy so everyone can vote online—or personalize education so everyone can learn? Do you want to explore ideas like a universal basic income so everyone has the financial cushion to try new things?

“These achievements,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says, “are all within our reach.”

Path Forward?

Proclamations like these—vague and optimistic and unapplied—are easy enough to make. We all love to dwell on untapped potential. But specific policies about what to do with that potential are boring, and work is hard. Jeremiads warning of a quickly-coming apocalypse fasten bodies to chairs, but predicting the Day of the Lord only moves a congregation’s eyes from the sky to the calendar.

To his credit, Zuckerberg tries to chart a path forward. At a recent event in Chicago, he lamented the widespread decline of group membership, à la Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone. This decline, in his estimation, has left a hole in our societal experience. He said:

We all get meaning from our communities. Whether they’re churches, sports teams, or neighborhood groups, they give us the strength to expand our horizons and care about…

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