I was excited by the title of this Leonard Sweet book. Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival has a real sense of promise about it. But I have to confess that I was disappointed, much as I was with another of his books, I am a Follower. I think at this point I need to admit that I am probably just not a Leonard Sweet fan. I find too much of his writing to be disjointed and circular; I also feel it slips into repetition.
Yet this is not to take away from the fact that there are some good ideas in the book, as he questions what it means to understand the Google culture now pervasive in the West. He suggests that this technological change, and its resulting cultural impact, is as significant as the introduction of the Gutenberg press in terms of how Christians might reach the world with the gospel. Thus, he claims, the key is for Christians to adapt to these changes, to learn from the ‘digital natives’ who are confident in this new world of iPhones, twitter and Facebook, as they leverage networks as a means of relationship-building over the individualism inherent in the Gutenberg culture.
Honestly…? I think this is articulated better and, perhaps, with fewer generalisations by other writers I have been reading lately. It’s a shame because I really want to like Leonard Sweet’s work and I certainly am fascinated by the same kind of topics as he writes about, but I just can’t get past his writing style. However, if you love Sweet’s work and are unfamiliar with this kind of categorisation of culture within the liminality in which we currently find ourselves, then this might be one for you!
I received a free e-copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in return for a fair review.