Mindful of the power of the "new media" - blogs, podcasts, and social-networking sites - organizers of the GodblogCon 2007 ("Calling and equipping all Christians to engage culture through the new media") recently concluded its third annual conference in Las Vegas. (The event was held at the same time as the BlogWorld & New Media expo.)
According to its website, the conference aimed to "equip" attendees "with a working knowledge of new media techology and how to employ new media tools quickly and easily to expand the reach of your ministry most effectively to impact culture for Christ."
One blog for every 151 people on the planet
As of mid-November, there were 109.2 million blogs - up from 94 million in August - floating about the Internet according to Derek Gordon, vice president for marketing of the San Francisco, California-based Technorati, the Internet search engine for searching blogs.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Gordon pointed out that the 109.2 million figure means that there "is one blog for every 151 people" on the planet, based on the July 2007 estimate of 6.6 billion people.
While the creation of blogs continues to experience a massive growth spurt, readership is not growing nearly as fast. Gordon estimates that 99 percent of all blogs get no traffic in the course of a year: The vast majority of blogs "exist in a state of total or near-total obscurity," Gordon told the Tribune.
Technorati's stats notwithstanding, people will continue creating blogs, many hoping that somehow their voices will be heard above the chatter and clatter. At their best, political/religious blogs provoke discussion in entertaining and informative ways. Over the past few years, blogs have broken important news stories, often pushing the mainstream media to take up issues it likely would have disregarded or overlooked.
Some blogs draw thousands of visitors a day; some bloggers even manage to carve out a living.
GodblogCon 2007 was all about setting down Christian roots in the "new media."
Speakers at the Las Vegas conference included Mohler, ("Pioneering the New Media for Christ: Understanding the Impact and Opportunity that New Media presents to thoughtful Christian Communicators); John Mark Reynolds, Founder and Director: Torrey Honors Institute ("Taking Your Ministry to the New Media: The Pastor As Godblogger"); Rhett Smith, College Director: Bel Air Presbyterian Church ("New Media Ministry to the Myspace- Facebook Generation Employing New Media Technologies Effectively In Youth Ministries"); Joe Carter, Director of Web Communications: Family Research Council ("Identifying Impact In Culture for Christians In New Media"); Bonnie Lindblom, Moderator: Intellecuelle - A Blog For Christian Women ("Communicating Biblical Womanhood: Ministering to Women Through New Media"); Paul Spears, Assistant Professor: Torrey Honors Institute ("Trafficking in Substance a Blogging Dilemma: The case for Blog Euthanasia"); LaShawn Barber, columnist Washington Examiner, ("Writing Well in the New Media").
TowersOnline, the news service of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, reported that Mohler, who blogs at albertmohler.com, "said the explosion of the Internet blogs has revolutionized communications in the past decade and has birthed a unique opportunity for the spread of the Gospel."
"Accountability is very important. We need to make sure our blogs are accountable to the Christian church. Someone ought to be able to call us on this. Our fellow Christians involved in our local churches ought to be reading our blogs and checking up on us to make sure we are telling the truth in a wholesome, compassionate way.
Lisa Anderson, director of public relations and publicity for Focus on the Family, attended the conference and, according to FotF's CitizenLink.com, "was impressed by the immense opportunity available to Christians via blogging and social networking."
Reporting on GodblogCon2007, the blog Pam's House Blend asked: "Does anyone else besides me feel like God and Jesus are being repackaged and marketed for the 18 to 34 demographic? Are these folk trying to save souls, or are they developing a web enterprise system for soul acquisitions?"
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