Social Media and the Movement of Ideas

in European Judaism
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The Social Media has become an important part of our (online) lives, in an incredibly short period of time. This paper will explore to what extent it contributes to fostering interfaith dialogue. Its impact depends on the people who use it - and how they use it. The Social Media challenges traditional hierarchies (including religious hierarchies) because control moves from website owners to users which means that “everyone is a publisher and everyone is a critic.“ Although the less personal nature of online communication makes it easier for information to be distorted, there are examples of good practice to promote interfaith dialogue. The Social Media can also overcome ignorant stereotypes and combat prejudice, (although it is also (ab)used to promote prejudice). In interfaith dialogue, the Social Media needs to provide a safe space for users, to facilitate trust and to help users feel a sense of connection with the 'other'. Although this can be more easily achieved in a face-to- face encounter because the 'virtual world' will only ever be virtual, the Social Media should be integrated into interfaith dialogue so that it not only contributes to positive political change but also to furthering inter- religious understanding.

European Judaism

A Journal for the New Europe

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