Jeff Haanen

In the next several posts, I’m going to be highlighting the first-hand experiences of four professionals in Denver. Each of them shared at our annual fundraiser and celebration of vocation, entitle “Making All Things New: Finding Our Place in God’s Mission.” We asked them what they sense is broken in their industries, and how they sense God was using them in his plan to ultimately “make all things new.” Joel was a 5280 Fellow in 2018.

As a computer programmer, I see how technology encroaches on our lives every day. We design online experiences that encourage you to use apps and websites as much as possible – to the point where people are becoming inseparable from their devices.

The consequences of this technology are gradually emerging, from people struggling to sleep because of extended exposure to the blue light of a computer screen to social media causing discontentedness and isolation even though we’re more “connected” than ever before. When choosing a career, I pursued web development because I felt the user experience was being designed in ways that were not spiritually, mentally, or even physically healthy.

I often ask myself: Is there still time to change these damaging effects? How can I use my observations to help people understand the role technology plays in their lives?

I am developing an app that began as my Fellows project, that informs users how the apps they use have been designed to affect them. It informs you when endless scrolling screens cause you to linger on a site or when location tracking allows your phone to spy on your life. We need this awareness to recognize how and why our technology has become omnipresent in our lives.

By empowering users to understand the way they interact with sites like Facebook or Instagram, I hope to reform the way we interact with technology. And, Lord willing, remind us how to enjoy our lives and make meaningful connections with and without technology. 

Through my work as a computer programmer, Christ is making all things new.

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  • Katie F Jones
    3:19 PM, 13 June 2019

    This is great! I know Joel from a Bible study we went to together a few years ago.

    • jhaanen
      9:42 PM, 13 June 2019

      Joel IS great!

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