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Getting in their stream

February 24, 2010 — 1 Comment

I wrote last week that I believe we are now in a “post-website” world, where the organizational website, while important, is no longer the centerpiece of how we interact online.  Continuing to think along these lines, the question then becomes: what should be the main focus of our online communications and interactions?

My answer to that question is not simple. I believe that the best way to interact with our target audience is to build relationships with them online.  And one way to build relationships with them is to insert ourselves into the “streams” of information that they consume everyday.  To have the maximum reach possible, we must understand the streams that our potential audience wades through on a daily basis and become part of it.

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As part of my preparation for my book on strategic online ministry, I am working my way through some of the latest books and other materials on the topic. As I review these for myself, I will also share my thoughts about them on this blog.

When I first started reading The Church of Facebook by Jesse Rice, I was a bit cynical. The title seemed a bit corny and so many people have said so many things about Facebook already that there couldn’t be anything new to say. Besides, any book written about a specific technology is going to be outdated a year after it was published, and since this was published in 2009, I figured it was already going to be out of date. But, as I began working my way through the book, I was pleasantly surprised in many ways by this book and would recommended for reasons having nothing to do with finding out about Facebook or online ministry.

The book begins with a quick history on the rise of Facebook, in which the author compares the impact that Facebook has had to other technological breakthroughs in modern history. I did find it a bit hard to buy the comparison of Facebook’s impact to that of air conditioning or London’s Millennium Bridge. The discussions of how quickly Facebook’s popularity rose and the founder’s plans for the future can be found in many places. But for the uninitiated, it provides a good background on the popular social networking tool.

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As many of you know, I will be on a “half-sabbatical” the next two semesters at Biola. My focus during this time will be to create a book on the strategic use of the Internet and social media for ministry (see my first blog post of the year for more details on what I am up to).  As I create this book, I want to collaborate with the best minds in Internet ministry: those who are doing it!  To get the best feedback possible, then, I need a lot of people reading what I post and giving me feedback! To make this easier for people, I have created a Facebook page for this blog. In fact, you may be reading this via Facebook right now!

I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to become a fan of this blog on Facebook and to share it with others who are doing ministry online as well. I also encourage you to interact with my posts and let me know what you think.  Thanks for your support and I look forward to good discussions on online ministry.

Lessons From Babel on Facebook