Reconsidering MySpace

For over a year now I've been a vocal advocate for all forms of new media. One of those areas I've advocated and written about on numerous occasions are social networking websites and MySpace in particular. The benefits of social networking sites are numerous. You can connect with people you wouldn't otherwise know and cultivate opportunities for ministry with those relationships. The downside, however, is that MySpace appears to be increasingly filled with provocative ads that, quite frankly, I don't need to see.

When I set up my MySpace account over a year ago I remember thinking that some of the ads were on the edge but didn't seem much beyond what you would find on television at any given time. Since then, however, MySpace ads have gotten worse. Some of the new ads are videos of women essentially calling out to you to click on their ad to visit the site they're promoting...which is usually a singles site.

Last week I recommended one of our clients change course from creating a MySpace ad for the first time. The client had been prepared to build a MySpace page based on a my recommendation several months ago but given my new concerns for the site I suggested they use some alternative social networking websites. They agreed and may actually go a step further by taking down existing MySpace pages they have.

I've said in the past that MySpace is a good ministry opportunity and I still believe there is a lot of ministry potential. Where there are people who don't know Christ, there are opportunities for ministry. Unfortunately, the purity hurdles that a Christian man will have to cross to begin to engage that community within MySpace are higher than I'm prepared to go. I don't know how to reconcile the spiritual needs within MySpace and my personal desire for purity so for now my solution to this problem is to leave MySpace.

A few years ago I switched from Hotmail in favor of Gmail for similar reasons and I've never looked back. If MySpace didn't target men with sexually provocative ads and could curb the regular solicitations from women who want me to check out their webcams I might come back to it but for now (and maybe forever) I'm leaving MySpace. I'm not going to shut down my account, but I'm not going to be active within it either. I'm moving my social networking completely over to Facebook and LinkedIn. You can find me there. If MySpace makes significant changes I may be back, but in the mean time it will have to be your space. It's not my space anymore.


Video of the Week: Uncomfortable Holly Hunter Interview

If you don't like awkward and embarrassing situations DO NOT watch this interview. My friend Jason will hate this because he's the kind of guy that gets embarrassed for other people and can't watch it unfold. If, however, you don't mind a little (or a lot) of awkward silence...this video is for you. Oh, and after you watch the video below be sure to see how ABC edited it the best they could. Ah, the magic of editing. Either way I feel bad for Holly Hunter. I think I can sum this up in four words: boom goes the dynamite.

UPDATE: ABC News puts a little spin on the story.

Link for the feed readers:


Cinematic Theology - new approach to the parables

I just finished a client meeting and am reminded that these guys are doing some really great stuff. In short, Modern Parables is using short films to teach the Bible. Their approach is to teach six parables exegetically through film styles of well know cinematographers like Orson Welles, Frank Capra, and Woody Allen.

Check out the trailer for Prodigal Sons and visit the site to see the other five trailers. You can see the full video for the Good Samaritan on the site as well.


Kirk Cameron's online ministry

I've known of Kirk Cameron's Way of the Master ministry for a few years now but it was great to see this story via Yahoo! News. I've seen a few other stories on this ministry but this one seemed different to me...perhaps because it was neutral and not jaded as others I've seen. GodTube even got a plug there.

Thanks to Cory for the tip.

PS - In case you're interested in a Seaver connection, (last name of the family on Growing Pains) my brother's name is actually Mike Seaver and he had a chance to meet Kirk Cameron a few years ago.


Video of the Week: Holman TV

Broadman & Holman Publishing Group started an interesting new marketing venture this summer with the launch of Holman TV. Holman TV is a fictional video blog of a character named Holman who's trying to make it in the Christian music business in Nashville and the episodes follow Holman around in his job and life.

This is a great example of a company thinking outside of the traditional marketing box. Chris, over at Pour Out, recently interviewed B&H's E-Business Director on the Holman TV project. Here's episode 1...



I'm sitting in a Panera Bread waiting on a few people for a meeting. As I was booting up the laptop I couldn't help but hear a conversation at a table right next to me. It appears a marketing agency representative is meeting with two clients and things are a little tense at best. One of the clients said something about some work that wasn't done correctly and the marketer said, "Honestly, I didn't know that." Then, over the course of the next sixty seconds the marketer said "honestly" about ten times. The comments were things like:
"Honestly we didn't mean to do that."
"Honestly we didn't know that."
"Honestly we thought it was something different."

If you have to say honestly that much what does that say about all of your previous conversations? Were they less than the truth? Honestly?


Free eBook - Pastor's Guide to Web 2.0

Several months ago I was asked to put together a resource for LifeWay Christian Stores that would explain web 2.0 to pastors (and other church staff people). The booklet was used as a promotional giveaway at the recent Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio. Today I learned that the resource is now available as a download. You can get it here. If you want a physical copy of the giveaway booklet I'd be happy to send one to you while my small supply lasts (if you'll cover the postage). Feel free to email me for that request.

Be sure to drop by the LifeWay Envelope Services new blog, Do More Ministry. They sponsored the development of the booklet and are providing the free download.

Here are the booklet chapter titles...

Web Two Point What? A Pastor's Guide to New Media
1. Are You Ready for Web 2.0?
2. Stats: The Growth of Web 2.0
3. What is Web 2.0?
- The Technology Shift - 6 Categories of Web 2.0
- The Content Distribution Shift
- The Culture Shift
4. Seven Strategies to Effective Blogging
5. How to Respond to Attack Blogs
6. Should I Use MySpace?
7. How to Create a MySpace Page
8. Drinking From the Fire Hose


WordPress Plugin - First Time Visitors

Yes, I know I use Blogger and not WordPress. No, I don't know when (or if) I'll make the switch but I must give it to the WordPressers...they sure come up with some good ideas. If you're on WordPress you may like the "What Would Seth Godin Do?" plugin to give new visitors a unique experience the first few times they come to your blog. Any Bloggies got something like this for me?


There's No YouTube Without You

I recently wrote this article for OutreachMagazine.com. You can read the whole article at Outreach but here are five things for churches to consider as they delve into the world of online video:

1. When in doubt, entertain. The most interesting online videos seem to be either highly entertaining or very funny. No matter what your video content, you've got to remember you're sending it off to a culture that's accustomed to entertainment. If you have a specific message for your video, do it in such a way that you creatively inform a viewer in an entertaining way. Think of it as the spoonful of sugar that will make the medicine go down.

2. Send them somewhere: At least once on the video, you should put up the address to your Web site or a Web site you want the viewer to visit. This is your golden opportunity to request that they spend a few more minutes with you, so don't let it pass without at least asking for them to visit your site for more information.

3. Post on multiple sites: Almost all online video sites work the same way these days. Although YouTube seems to get most of the press, you should put your video on a number of different online video sites. After YouTube, head straight over to GodTube.com. It's a great YouTube alternative for Christians and has some other online video tools your church will find helpful. Beyond these two, put your video on Google Video as well.

4. Make it passalongable. Yes, passalongable isn't a real word but it should be part of your online video vernacular. Is your video one that you would tell 10 people about? Is it good enough (both in content and delivery) that nine of those 10 friends would tell at least one other person about it? If the answer to either of those questions is no, then you should tweak it or perhaps rework it entirely. Online video works best when people tell their friends about it. If your video lacks the needed passalongability, you have likely misapplied the time, energy and financial resources that went into making the video.

5. Don't limit online video to preaching. Preaching is often the first online video use that comes to mind with many churches, but consider other opportunities with online video like classroom-style teaching, global missions, idea sharing, promotion, and video blogging. Maybe you're starting a building campaign at the church. If so, you could post regular updates about the progress of the project and even interview some of the building crew, just to give the church a differrent perspective on the project (and also keep it top-of-mind so those campaign pledges aren't forgotten).