“The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17
Media. noun, plural of medium, (usually used with a plural verb) the means of communication, traditionally used to refer to radio and television, newspapers, and magazines, that reach or influence people widely: The media are covering the speech tonight.
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube. It seems everyone is on them today. What do they all have in common? They are all part of what we call the new social media. We are entering an era of what some call the Attention Age where social networking employing social media is taking over. The old era of industial media or traditional broadcast and mass media is declining. The faith community is becoming more aware of this media transformation. It is beginning to understand its tremendous implications. And it is making serious efforts to comes to grips with it.
The next several blog postings will deal with the basics of this rapidly evolving social media. What are they? How do they work? And how do they relate to the Christian community today?
Social media are media designed to be shared or spread through social interaction or social networking. One of social media’s earliest associations was with LinkedIn, which applied it as a business tool in 2004. When faith-based social interaction or networking occurs between Chistians it is called fellowship. When it is from Christian to the unchurched it is called evangelism. For Christians social media should always be employed in love, and used to the glory of God. It should never be used for harmful, hurtful or ungodly purposes.
One of the basic characteristics of social media is they are created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Generally, social media tools are available to anyone at little or no cost. Currently, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube accounts are all free. You can use them to reach one person, a small group, or a global audience. Christians can use these social media tools to share information about events, ministries, scriptures, affirmations, sevices, Bible Study, conferences, evangelism, etc. In a word, social media can be effectively used to fulfill the Great Commission of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. (See Matthew 28:19-20).
Social Media use internet and web based technologies to transform social networking from a broadcast (one to many) format into a social networking (many to many) format. So this allows for not only sharing information and messages, but also for interactive social dialogue. Instead of preaching at people, social media allows for dialogue between people to allow for more understanding, creative collaboration, and elaboration on specific topics, situations, and solutions.
With social media communication can be instantaneous without any lag or delay. It can be via many forms including internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures, video, rating, and bookmarking. Technologies include blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP.
Social media transform people from consumers of content to producers of content. It supports democratization of knowledge and information.
Business refers to social media as User Generated Content (UGC), or Consumer Generated Media (CGM). The faith community refers to it as Faith Generated Media (FGM) or Faith Based Media (FBM). Without question, the potential for using FBM as a tool to spread the gospel, love our neighbors, and glorify God is virtually unlimited. This blog explores some of the many, exciting ways that Web 2.0 tools are creatively applied to ministry and the community of faith. (For more on Web 2.0 check out the excellent wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2.0 .)
Know who you are and whose you are. You were born for greatness. There is no limit to what you can do through Christ Jesus!