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Book Reviews

Thursday, 23 August, 2012 9:30 PM

'#Hooked' is definitely worth your money

Book cover credit: Siloam Books

"#Hooked: The pitfalls of media, technology and social networking" by Gregory L. Jantz is available in bookstores everywhere.

 

by Maggie Young
magy_74@hotmail.com

 

|

It seems like everywhere you look these days, everyone and everything is connected to an online site. It often feels that if you aren't connected you might just be missing out.

When I began reading this book, the irony is that I was unconnected. My Internet had been down for three days. I hate to admit, but I did miss it. Maybe not the social networking sites, but you don't truly realize how much you use the Internet on a daily basis until it is down. I am constantly looking things up.

This book is about the ever-changing, technology-driven world we live in today. With more forms of technology than ever before, people are spending more time online and connected than in the real world. Dr. Gregory L. Jantz is very frank with his own obsession with his phone and how much time he spends online. He gives examples not only through other people's point of view, but examples he sees in his own life. This book is intended to be informative and reads similar to a textbook. At the end of each chapter there is a Connection Section that gives tips and exercises to discover your own technology use.

Jantz has published numerous self-help books on topics such as eating disorders, gambling, weight loss, abuse, depression, and anxiety. He is also the founder of The Center for Counselling and Health Resources, Inc. which is a leading healthcare facility in Seattle. His website, aplaceofhope.com goes into further detail about the center.

In his book, he talks about the new phenomenon of using friend as a verb. The average Facebook user has a least 130 friends, but he questions whether they actually talk to these people or has it become a competition of who can collect the most? He then makes a great reference that perhaps the reason Jesus had 12 disciples is because that was the maximum number of people he could actually devote his time to. It makes you think…how many people on your Facebook do you actually talk to? So many are just mere acquaintances yet we refuse to delete them. Jantz writes, "when friend was a noun, it described someone you knew well and liked, and vice versa" (68). Jantz believes that true friendship is a noun and advises to resist the urge of using friend as verb.

In a chapter titled Just Like Real Life, he discusses that many people are putting more importance on their online life than the life they are actually experiencing. Instead of living in the real world, they are living in a virtual one. How they portray themselves through photos and status updates preoccupies their day. Does that picture make them look fat? Did her comment on his wall sound stupid? Jantz has discovered that the more stressful and chaotic a person's real life is, the more perfect it appears in their virtual life. You would never know that these people are going through a divorce or that they have an addiction problem. Jantz writes, "Children create fantasy to practice who they will be; adults create fantasy to hide from who they are" (91). Jantz makes a really valid point. When you see a person online who seems to be having the ultimate experiences and the best life, it is often not how it is in reality.

Jantz further goes on to consider our expectations of technology. His section, Instant Download discusses how we expect technology to be fast and efficient. He reminds us of a simpler time of dial-up and being able to make a sandwich while waiting for your computer to load. Back then we were so amazed by computers that the simple functions they did provide us with were worth the wait. In 2012, we have laptops, iPads, Smartphones, etc. and when they fail to download a document within a few seconds, we get irritated with them.

He writes about our fear of being disconnected from technology. Twenty years ago when you left the office at 5 p.m., you weren't going to get a sudden call or email from your boss or customers. A person was only called at home if it was an absolute emergency. Now we can be connected to our jobs 24/7. Jantz gives the example of some people not being able to cottage in dead zones due to anxiety about being needed in the workplace.

The only section I was apprehensive about was the final chapter that was titled The Ultimate Filter. This filter is God's voice and his voice on technology. Jantz uses his own Christian experiences and his role as a Christian therapist to guide the reader through this section. He pulls Biblical passages to help him. Though I am a Christian, Catholics read the Bible contextually and not so literal, which makes it difficult for me personally to read these passages as Jantz intends them to be viewed. I would assume that people of other religions might have the same issues in the final chapter. However, Jantz realizes this problem and respects people's views. He suggests taking what pertains to your own life from this chapter.

Overall, #Hooked was an interesting read and shed some light on the current issues with technology in our lives. Though I only have a computer and a basic cell phone, it made me think of how we all coped before technology took over and if I remember correctly, we all coped just fine.

#Hooked: The pitfalls of media, technology and social networking is available at bookstores everywhere.

ISBN# 978-1616382575 / Publisher: Siloam / (May 1, 2012) / Paperback: 256 pages

For more from Maggie Young, visit her blog at: http://maggie-myfavouritethings.blogspot.ca

Related Story: Book Review: 'Sacre Bleu: A Comedy D'Art' is a painful read

 

 

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