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WEB EVANGELISM BULLETIN

. . . learning from each other
W-E-B Issue 142 ~ November 06
Twice a month ISSN 471-0323

News this time...

VIDEO CLIPS AND ANIMATIONS
COMMUNICATING WELL
MEETFISH LAUNCHES: NEW CHRISTIAN NETWORKING SITE
BOOK REVIEW
THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
INNOVATIVE POSSIBILITY FOR WEB OUTREACH
TIPS
USABILITY TESTING ON A ZERO BUDGET
THE NATIVITY STORY RELEASES
HOW COMPUTERS CHANGE THE WAY WE THINK
IEC CONFERENCE VIDEOS
GAMES
TAILEND

"A pessimist mourns the future"

"If you spend all your time looking back at yesterday, you are destined to trip over tomorrow"

"The bridges you cross before you come to them are over rivers that aren't there"


VIDEO CLIPS AND ANIMATIONS

You may recall we have discussed the huge potential of the video clip on secular sites such as YouTube. And it is amazing how some are made with little more than a webcam.

Take for instance the very funny Treadmill video clip by OK GO:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pv5zWaTEVkI
which has had 8 million views on its original posting (others have reposted it, which confuses the download totals).

Can you parody self-parody? Well, yes, someone has done a Lego version of it, and is obtaining a dramatic number of downloads on the back of the original video's popularity:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjCL0_0Il7w

Creativity, humor, and thinking outside the box, are keys to producing video clips that people will want to watch:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/video-outreach.php

Check also Rox35's animation competition for mobiles. These are Christian messages within short animations, and you can vote for the best, or download them:
http://roxroxtoonz.com/

Meta search for video is on the way. PureVideo is in beta test mode:
http://www.purevideo.com/


COMMUNICATING WELL

MODERN OUTREACH: What might have worked in times past, though perhaps not as well as we imagined, may not work so well today. Here's a page that sums up a philosophy of evangelism that is appropriate for our days - they call it 'WithReach':
http://www.breakthroughchurch.com/withreach/chart.html

UNDERSTANDING CULTURE: "Too many churches are boldly pressing forward in the third millennium with the methods and ministries that worked in 1954," write Ed Stetzer and David Putman in 'Breaking the Missional Code', a 2006 release from the B&H Publishing Group of LifeWay Christian Resources:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b06nov-lifeway

C S LEWIS QUOTES: for articles, sermons, websites:
http://www.lewissociety.org/quotes.php

MAGAZINE TRAINING INTERNATIONAL will be putting their next training course onto DVD, as a resource for writing and operating Christian magazines. The writing tuition applies equally to web writing:
http://www.magazinetraining.com/

DOING IT RIGHT: Shoot-First Apologetics: What a dead bluebird taught Walter Martin about defending the faith:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/november/27.98.html


MEETFISH LAUNCHES: NEW CHRISTIAN NETWORKING SITE

We have recently covered the potential of secular networking websites for relationship building and evangelism. On the other hand, this is certainly not everyone's calling, and many people would like to be part of (or offer to their younger children) a networking culture that is not quite so, well, full of secular in-your-face youth attitude. Different Christian groups have developed other networking alternatives.

Just launched - and with the credibility of a major ministry - is MEETFISH, from ATS Tracts. Very significant is that it is not intended as a ghetto for Christians. Dave Waggoner writes,
"The idea is to offer a safer alternative to MySpace. You will be seeing major developments as the website grows. Some of the key features are:

- Simplicity - It has been designed using a module system, so users will be able to use a simple drag and drop method to show/hide features on their page.
- Moderation - Everything is passed through a moderator.
- Privacy - Each account is private by default, which means the user has to take the initiative to make their profile public.
- Accountability - There is a 'Remove Inappropriate Content' (RIC) button located next to every user-editable content area.
- Clean Ads - The ads being displayed are general web consumer ads selected by MEETfish, so there won't be any inappropriate ads.
- Inviting - The website was designed to be appealing and open to anyone.
- Speed - Since the website utilizes AJAX technology, more can be accomplished without constant page reloads.

Our target audience is anyone interested in a family-friendly online community. Our advantage is that we've developed a website that is also open to those that are either afraid of, restricted from, or offended by MySpace. We hope to see all age groups, religious beliefs, races, etc. represented in the MEETfish community. This will allow believers that take part in the community an opportunity to engage in conversation, share their faith, and hopefully see lives changed by the gospel.

In addition, we will also be allowing other ministries the opportunity to have their own community utilizing the MEETfish platform. This opens the door for any ministry to realize the benefits of online social networking. Ministries will be able to connect their people, gather vital user information, and communicate directly with their constituents. By using the MEETfish platform this can be accomplished for any ministry without the sizable investment (in both time and money) to develop an online community from scratch."
http://www.meetfish.com/


BOOK REVIEW

Inside the Organic Church
Bob Whitesel
Abingdon Press
ISBN 0-687-33116-1

Bob Whitesell is one of those very rare people - a 'church advice doctor' who has the insights and experience to understand the 'health issues' and problems facing churches in their desire to reach out into the community. His books such as 'A House Divided' (with K Hunger), 'Staying Power' and 'Growth by Accident, Death by Planning' are full of wisdom for any church leader. This latest book looks at the innovative way 12 different churches are responding to postmodernism and the need to reach out effectively to Generations X and Y (those under about 40, and 22 respectively). His insights into culture and two different streams of postmodernism are also very revealing.
http://www.c3intl.org/


THE WORLD WE LIVE IN

THE BITER BITTEN: E-mail spam scammers make millions from unsuspecting dupes. But one man is fighting back, exposing fraudsters to ridicule with his own brand of retributive justice:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,7-2434135.html

TV FEELS THE CHILL: Ad revenue in the UK for Google UK has surpassed TV's Channel 4 and it appears as if the older media never saw it coming:
http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/061102-085942

HOW SONY STARTED MARKETING TO WOMEN: women actually respond to different issues. Male evangelists and potential Henry "Why can't a woman be more like a man" Higgins lookalikes please note: Women. Do. Not. Think. The. Same. As. You.
http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article.php?ident=29772

THE 'NET GENERATION': Young people - now adults - who grew up with the Internet, actually think differently too:
http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=3900
Alloy Media + Marketing and Harris Interactive offer an detailed study of what friendship means to today's youth. New technologies shift means of communication across this digital generation, as teens come to define their closest circles by those they are connected with both online and offline:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b06nov-harrisPDFreport

WEB DANGERS: a speaking tour sponsored by CCCI, with former porn addict Michael Leahy, is warning college students across the U.S. about the devastating effects of pornography:
http://www.crosswalk.com/news/religiontoday/1445528.html
Leahy's own ministry: http://www.bravehearts.net/

MS Location Finder: find out where you are without having to invest in a satellite navigation system using a laptop that has WiFi:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b06nov-microsoft

TRACING YOUR ANCESTORS: CastleGarden gives access to database of immigrants to USA:
http://www.castlegarden.org/
Ancestry.com offers free access to passenger lists 1820-1960 - but only till end of November.
http://landing.ancestry.com/immigration/main/?o_iid=24988&o_lid=24988


INNOVATIVE POSSIBILITY FOR WEB OUTREACH

Secular writer Frank Warren says, "In November 2004, I printed 3,000 postcards inviting people to share a secret with me: something that was true, something they had never told anyone. I handed out cards at subway stations, I left them in art galleries and I slipped them between the pages of library books. Slowly, secrets found their way to my mailbox."

People were prepared to write, anonymously on a postcard, things they had maybe never told even their best friend, or maybe even really admitted to themselves:
http://women.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,17909-2436314.html

The author does in fact post new ones on his blog (content warning here).

But, I wonder, could this concept be adapted as a bridge strategy site, offering understanding to people's deepest needs and secrets. Secrets could be posted online (or just shared with the webmaster if preferred by submitter). The site could lead into answers on various life problems, with email mentoring and support.


TIPS

- non-techies look away now!

TEMPLATES: Joomla and Mambo templates:
http://www.pixelsparadise.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1
http://www.joomlashack.com/
http://www.mambohut.com/
Standard CSS templates that you plug into your design:
http://www.dynamicdrive.com/style/layouts/

RSS TO WEBPAGE: Although there are third-party services that will drop RSS content onto a webpage, you can do it yourself with various scripts:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b06nov-rsstohtml

DESIGN: Thoughts on good web design with examples:
http://www.webdesignfromscratch.com/current-style.cfm

DIGITAL WEB MAGAZINE: Access a range of topics relating to web design here:
http://www.digital-web.com/topics/

WHY CARE ABOUT WEB STANDARDS? We can all (designers, developers, website visitors) benefit from an increased adoption of Web standards.
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b06nov-netdummy

7 CHARACTERISTICS of a Great Webpage:
http://www.sitepronews.com/archives/2006/nov/13.html

WIKIPEDIA: where do users go after Wikipedia?
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b06nov-webpronews


USABILITY TESTING ON A ZERO BUDGET

Pastor Ralph Wilson's promotion website looks at the essential task of website usability testing: "These days usability labs can burn through tens of thousands of dollars in sophisticated testing equipment and consulting fees. But when we started testing usability on the Web in the late '90s, all we had was a computer and a notepad. With these simple tools, the science of modern web usability was launched." And those are still all you need:
http://www.wilsonweb.com/design/follansbee-usability-zero.htm

More links and ideas:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/usability.php


THE NATIVITY STORY RELEASES

Craig Webb of Lifeway writes, "I saw a partial preview of this feature film this past week and was amazed at the effect it had on me. I want to encourage you to visit thenativitystory.com to view movie trailers, photos, and description of this film. I believe this will have a great evangelistic impact during the Christmas season."
http://unity.lifeway.com/UM/T.asp?A1.22.8670.12.675079


HOW COMPUTERS CHANGE THE WAY WE THINK

Sherry Turkle is Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has some profound insights into the way the digital revolution is changing us, and has written extensively:

The Second Self: Computers and the human spirit (MIT Press, 2005)
http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=10515

Life on the Screen: Identity in the age of the Internet (Touchstone, 1997):
http://web.mit.edu/sturkle/www/Life-on-the-Screen.html

Her next book, Evocative Objects: Things We Think With, will be published in April 2007. She is also completing a book on robots and the human spirit.

Her insights are also explained in a recent New Scientist article (only part of which is public):
http://www.newscientisttech.com/article/mg19125691.600

"I think they're a far better analysis than any Christians are doing at the moment on the moral and ethical effects, seen from a upright yet perhaps slightly apathetic perspective," says one Christian web expert.


IEC CONFERENCE VIDEOS

Until the end of November, video sessions of the Internet Evangelism Coalition September conference will be available . online, and also read the latest IEC newsletter:
http://community.gospelcom.net/Brix?pageID=20401


GAMES

Many Christians are involved in gaming. Look at:
http://xboxmission.org/
http://the-whats-next-collective.org/

There is also potential to go and live in the parallel web universe Second Life. As a Christian! Anyone tried doing this?
http://secondlife.com/

Secular list of games:
http://www.toplistgames.com/

New Playstation 'Rule of Rose' child torture game appalls EU Justice Commissioner:
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,23569-2457394.html


TAILEND ô¿ô

Fun At The Bank
The young woman who entered our bank to cash a check looked so hesitant that I went to help her. "Please sign the back of the check," I told her, "as you'd sign a letter." She looked at me gratefully, scribbled on the check and passed it to me. Signed on the back was: "Yours affectionately, Pamela."

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