Wednesday, February 23, 2005
"Quentin J. Schultze, professor of communication at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., says society’s love affair with the Internet reflects the “increasingly frenetic, chaotic and morally impoverished lives” of North Americans—lives that leave precious little time to consider ethical concerns about Internet use." [See full length article, starting at InternetForChristians.org]
Quentin and the article author are either failing to keep up with the pace of the lead pack, or they're choosing to disregard it. With the current stir being MSM v. Bloggers, I'd hate to think there's now a 3rd classification... "OI" (Old Internet).
Indeed, many 'old' (ministry especially) sites are static, poorly updated and thus only really contain self-pointing 'brochureware'. That alone seems pretty self-centered. I agree. But Internet II -- Blogging/RSS -- is very much about freshening information... VALUABLE information... discussion, learning, sharpening and importantly... pointing to each other... ie, networking... community-building... 'Preferring one another', if you will.
Not only is it not as self-serving as 'OI', it also quickly allows new leaders to surface and rise to the top. Falsehoods fail. Ask Dan Rather and Eason Jordan. Truth rises as more & more bloggers recognize and point to preferred news/blogs sites.
RSS feeds allow people to select who they intentionally want to read. Again, excellent sites rise. Some illustrations: Hugh Hewitt, WorldMag Blog, and La Shawn Barber.
And better yet, blog TEAMS form. Teams are likely to be more trusted even than individual blogsites. Teams collaborate.... for impact.
Quentin & devotees... let me point you (admittedly self-servingly to a degree, LOL) to IndyChristian.com... a Christian blog-team of pastors & other innovative leaders here that are city-focused about getting the Great Commission done! And we've only touched the tip of the iceberg re Christian blogteams. For instance, IC is laying (communication) tracks daily throughout the city, and hooking up with the statewide system (TransformIndiana.com) and nationally. (CityReaching.org).
This new-found ability to network at the speed of Light for the acceleration of the Great Commission... will prevail... over all the ills you've heretofore cited. Building any network takes a little time to develop, but soon this Christian network will become immensely productive as a set of communication tracks... and is quickly coming of age.
So Quentin, take hope. All is not lost. God is alive & well, and is using the capability of the internet, to pull the body of Christ together... and to deliver His Good News.
I hear the distant whistle of a high-speed 'engine of Truth' coming.
Gotta go. Got miles to lay before I sleep.
"Truth will prevail, and Truth at the speed of light will prevail at the speed of Light."
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
by Neil Cox, Founder, IndyChristian.com
Before we start counting, perhaps you're wondering...
What is a 'BLOG' anyway?
Here's Google's definitive answer.
Now... onward... to the 50-bullet count-down... Why blog?
Some of you might only be persuaded after obtaining a thorough understanding of it by studying Google's entire "Top 23,000 Answers To: Why Blog?"
On the other extreme, others of you might simply jump right into it in the interest of developing a new capability 'on faith'... and obtain your understanding of blogging from the 'inside'. "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.]
But for most of you who fall in between the extremes, I've started summarizing some quick answers for you below:
- Because you can.
- Because everybody else is doing it.
- [And in the future, twice that many will be doing it.]
- Because ABC News calls us 'People of the Year'.
- Because my pastor mentioned the 'B-word' from the pulpit!
- And this youth pastor blogs with all his teens. Says it's easy now to stay up with what's going on in their lives.
- Pew Internet & American Life Project reports... you're now a key part of online culture.
- Because it's Webster's 'Runaway Word of 2004".
- Hugh Hewitt's new book tells why. "Blog: Understand the Information Reformation".
- Because MarketingProfs are recommending that CEOs should blog.
- After all, even kindergarteners know: Click, Clack Moo... Cows That Type (succeed!).
- It's fun. And an incentive to get 'e-capable'.
- It's an alternate press. Just ask Monica Lewinsky or Dan Rather.
- Because bloggers invented Howard Dean.
- Because bloggers put away Howard Dean (and John Kerry).
- Innovators blog. While Google.com shows "George W. Bush" pages in the lead (12 million pages); SlashDot is a close 2nd with 10 million page references (well ahead of John Kerry at 7 million, Howard Dean at 2 million... and the ever-trailing Ralph Nader on a million pages).
- Wall Street recognizes the value of blogging. Just ask a $52 billion company ('Google', who bought Blogger.com before IPO'ing on Wall Street less than a year ago -- Btw, how long did it take Bill Gates to be worth a $billion?)
- Ask Fortune magazine... "Why There's No Escaping the Blog".
- It's a great concept for sharing information via a corporate intranet... and for organizing large quantities of information.
- Christians blog. Apparently way more than Muslims blog.
- Blogger La Shawn Barber, a self-professed 'nobody' has attained 'Ann Coulter hate status'.
- World Magazine and other leading evangelical magazines now blog in between magazine issues.
- Because Indy Church blogs.
- Josh Claybourn, a young Indiana (Christian) student now is able to reach more folks in a day, than most pastors do in a year.
- A grad student blogs to pan out his philosophical & theological concepts, while improving his writing... in hopes of someday becoming a great philosopher. In the meantime, he's enjoyed an added benefit of meeting new people who share similar interests.
- Colson 'centurion' blogger, Dawn Treader, is organizing Christian apologist bloggers.
- Pro-life bloggers now are a well-networked and impactful affinity group.
- If we've learned from "Divided by Faith" that we need to expand our Christian circles to be more racially heterogeneous, then blogging opens new opportunities for networking.
- Pastor Tod Bolinger implores us to "Blog, for Christ's Sake!"
- Because Seminary professors blog.
- Many of the Global Evangelism egroup successfully used their blogs to lobby-for and proliferate the concept of the new "Internet Evangelism Day" -- April 24, 2005.
- Liberty University media professor Dan Heinrich uses a blog to pull together the upcoming "Internet Evangelism for the 21st Century" conference.
- Oh my goodness... Jerry Falwell will be addressing that innovative group!
- How else could Orangejack's stock skyrocket, short of starting a Blogging University?
- Google currently lists 33 million sites re 'tsunami'... vs. 171 million sites re 'blog'.
- Google lists nearly 4 million 'blog' sites mentioning 'tsunami'. Affected bloggers posted videos.
- Tsunami blogging included Christianity Today's guest-blogger, Rudy Carrasco -- who has been doing an inner-city blog for years. [Oh, and he's been invited to the White House several times since starting his 'Urban Onramps' blog... not to mention launching the idea of CCDA convention blogs, thus connecting many like-minded Christians to each other.]
- It's a whole new platform to get your 'message' out, complete with automated RSS, perfectly suited to feed to the aggregators... not to mention trackbacks. [But watch out for the comment & trackback ping-spam. LOL]
- Free, easy, blog-sites can facilitate 'neighborhood networking'. A blogmap can display the real-world landscape of bloggers in a city. A meet-up can help pull 'em together for a live(ly) meeting.
- Urban pastors are suddenly empowered, if they can quickly and easily put up a website and start posting... without the need of a webmaster... Oh, and did I mention... for free.
- Unlike a newspaper editor's control over dissent, a blog's 'comment' capability provides for valuable feedback... both for the benefit of the blogger... and the surfing audience.
- Traditional journalists read blogs. Bloggers read traditional journalists. Journalists get good ideas. Bloggers challenge media accuracy. Bloggers challenge each other's ideas & accuracy. Truth prevails.
- Unlike the typical church-site, the 'blogosphere' culture encourages reciprocal linking.... and as a result, blogs get seen and read far more than typical church-sites. This is what I've called the 'Google Parable': Reciprocal linkage helps all the boats on the (search engine) river rise. Actually, Jesus said it first, "Love one another; prefer one another". But if we won't listen to Jesus, perhaps the new-paradigm giant will convince us. Networks of 'driven' Christians can impact society more than individuals or self-serving churches.
- While newspapers tend to limit additional reading or researching, blogs encourage additional reading by linking to other articles & related sites. Here's an example of a newspaper's front-page headline article leaving out an important fact... that could have been seen in a click or two, if they'd have provided their reference source's link. [Sorry that this major newspaper doesn't archive its articles with a 'permalink'... like blogs do.]
- Because the Digital Divide Network encourages it.
- The blogosphere is a unique learning system. As more & more people publish in their area of expertise -- and each can suddenly find & learn from others in that area -- everyone develops a greater, and finer, expertise. The blogosphere interacts daily. Learning is increased daily. And not just via information explosion, but rather through sharpening.
- Often, the writer learns even more than the reader. But it's amazing just how much you can quickly learn via a well-written topical blog... like say, "Effective Web-Ministry Notes".
- Conversely, high-quality blogs become touch-points through which innovative types are drawn to your ministry. E.g. your church, outreach, seminary or Christian college.
- In fact, potentially, blogs might be considered to BE innovative type outreaches.
- Or consider that possibly, a blog network could become part of a team-learning experience, or a 'community-building' exercise. When you learn what another person is truly passionate about, you've skipped over a whole bunch of the more superficial steps in relationship building.
- Btw, what's to be said of Blogs4God.com... the semi-definitive list of Christian bloggers?
- And finally, what might be the future of blogging? Ask that question at GodBlogCon 2005... a new conference that just grew up overnight. And what do you make of this... Prayer for GodBlogCon 2005? Indeed, Mr. Morse... "What hath God wrought?"
All this being said... Still we wonder: "BUT WHY???????"
- Because... It's a free & easy publishing/learning system which creates new networking opportunities and uniquely impacts the new culture in which we live!
Bottom line: "Blogging is not about a web-SITE; it's about a web-STRATEGY."
"Truth will prevail. And Truth at the speed of light will prevail at the speed of Light."
Addendum: "Why Team-Blog?"
- Diverse, collaborative blogging will tend to accelerate interaction, feedback and sharpening.
- How to team blog? Typically team members centrally post short 'blurbs' at the team-blog-site... that link to full-length pieces at their personal or ministry's site... thus creating win-win situations for everyone.
- As a team, it's easier to keep content hyper-fresh.... thus quickly drawing a critical mass audience... and creating 'raving fans'.
- ...which encourages the 'blog-team' toward REAL-world collaboration.
- And moves their real-world collaboration forward, say city-wide, toward their (blog-published) goals.
Next... "Why Feed RSS To The Aggregators?"
Subsequent Links: "Why Blogging Is Good For Your Career"