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WEB EVANGELISM BULLETIN

. . . learning from each other
W-E-B Issue 147 ~ April 07
Twice a month ISSN 471-0323

News this time...

VIRGINIA TRAGEDY SUPPORT
INTERNET EVANGELISM DAY IS HERE
GET AN AWARD-WINNING BOOK ON EVANGELISM
SPEAKERS ON WEB EVANGELISM FOR YOUR EVENT
CHILDREN'S OUTREACH SITE GROWS
TIPS
WEB USABILITY
COMMUNICATING WELL
JAPAN - A MISSED OPPORTUNITY
POPULAR CULTURE
THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
WIKIPEDIA - A UNIQUE PHENOMENON
TAILEND

"The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory" - Paul Fix

"You have a calling which exists only for you and which only you can fulfill" - Dr. Naomi Stephan


VIRGINIA TRAGEDY SUPPORT

The Web is uniquely placed to help Christians minister to those who are hurting and confused in situations such as this - both by providing resources to help Christians minister, and by offering direct material suitable for not-yet-Christians:

TruthMedia's 'The Life' site has once again been quickly repositioned to respond to the tragedy:
http://thelife.com/

ATS Tracts ability to respond rapidly to news situations means that they already have a Virginia Tech tract available in print and online form:
http://www.atstracts.org/

What to Say About Virginia Tech: 21 Ways to Minister:
http://www.crosswalk.com/spirituallife/11538415/

Evangelist Rusty Wright's short article is available (as are a wide range of his other writings) to be syndicated into newsletters, magazines, etc:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b07april-probe
Other resources (including MP3s) are listed here:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b07april-virginia
http://www.gospelcom.net/virginiatech/
http://www.pastors.com/rwmt/default.asp?id=308&artid=10484&expand=1"> &ndash - pastoral response from a former youth pastor in Littleton.


INTERNET EVANGELISM DAY IS HERE

The Day is almost here! Sunday 29 April - a good opportunity for you to share the enormous potential of the web with the wider Christian public, so that many more will take up the opportunities it offers.

One important conceptual hurdle to lift people over - you do not need to be technical to do web evangelism!

OK, it may be too late for you to insert a significant program into your church activities at this stage, if you have not already planned to. But perhaps a two-minute announcement slot, or a paragraph in your church announcement sheet, are still options for you?
http://www.InternetEvangelismDay.com/

IE Day resources are not limited to April! A wide range of free articles are avaiable to use throughout the year, in magazines, newsletters and blogs:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/free-articles.php


GET AN AWARD-WINNING BOOK ON EVANGELISM

Would you like a copy of FINDING COMMON GROUND, by Tim Downs (Moody Press)? All you have to do is add our church site self-assessment tool to your own website, and integrate it into your website menu. Do it before Internet Evangelism Day (29 April), and then email us with the URL and your postal address. A names will be picked randomly from those who have done this, and the book posted to you. (Grateful thanks to Moody Press for making the book available to mark IE Day.)
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/churchdesign-syndicate.php


SPEAKERS ON WEB EVANGELISM FOR YOUR EVENT

If you are looking for a speaker for any meeting or seminar, broadly connected with online evangelism, please write - we may be able to source someone for you.

Of course, the Internet Evangelism Day site offers downloads (PowerPoint, video clips, handouts, articles) so that YOU can easily speak on the subject - from one minute to 100; from a church announcement to a college seminar:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/planning.php

And here's a PowerPoint from Pew Internet on Internet facts and issues, which you could to use or adapt, perhaps for a more technical audience:
http://www.pewinternet.org/presentation_display.asp?r=94


CHILDREN'S OUTREACH SITE GROWS

JCPlayZone is a new initiative from Lutheran Hour Ministries. Lorri Hackett writes, "JCPlayZone started out as a very small website designed to be a response mechanism for the Christmas animated programming that Lutheran Hour Ministries airs each year (Red Boots for Christmas and Little Shepherd). As the ideas grew, so did the site! Today it is a full-blown children's site that I feel can compete with other, more commercial, sites out there. It has been an amazing outreach tool to date and the response has been overwhelming.

"We are updating content weekly so that it is always fresh and kids have a reason to keep coming back to see what's new. The ParentZone side of it gets new articles on a weekly basis. It is our hope to grow the Christian content more as time progresses. We are hoping to add a 'Country of the Month' section, which will feature a different country each month and will talk about what kids do in that country as well as provide games, crafts, etc. from that country. We are also hoping to add some frequently asked questions from children about faith, God, religion, Jesus, etc."
http://www.jcplayzone.com/


TIPS

- non-techies look away now

SITEMAPS: There is now a 'sitemaps discovery option' so that search engines can find your xml sitemap automatically. There is also on this page the protocol for submitting your sitemap to Ask.com:
http://blog.ask.com/2007/04/sitemaps_autodi.html
How to add 'auto discover entry' in robots text file:
http://searchengineland.com/070411-080716.php

GOOGLE not the only search engine:
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/top_100_alternative_search_engines.php

EMAIL: Can emails just get lost? You bet. And how secure are VOIP calls?
http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2006/pulpit_20061201_001274.html

BACKGROUND IMAGES do not usually print when the page has a print stylesheet. If you need them, here's a workaround:
http://web-graphics.com/mtarchive/001703.php

PHP - 10 Tips That Every PHP Newbie Should Know:
http://www.phpbuilder.com/columns/vaska20050722.php3
and PHP has a 'get meta tag' function, which could come in useful.

ONLINE CONVERTERS for images, programming languages etc:
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/04/10/online-converters/

BLOGS: if you have a business-related blog, you can submit it to FastPitch. Maybe they would also accept one which was broadly on life skills, if those related to the marketplace:
http://www.fastpitchnetworking.com/blog/


WEB USABILITY

BREADCRUMB TRAILS: Jakob Nielsen's latest Alertbox says, "Breadcrumbs use a single line of text to show a page's location in the site hierarchy. While secondary, this navigation technique is increasingly beneficial to users..."
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/breadcrumbs.html

DROPDOWNS: Also, avoid minor irritations for users: get rid of the drop-down box for state abbreviations, says Neilsen:
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/annoyances.html

TOO MUCH CHOICE CONFUSES: Social scientist and Swarthmore College professor, Barry Schwartz, has coined the phrase, "the paradox of choice". His studies have concluded that "the more choice you give people, the less likely they are to make a decision. Some choice is good, but too much choice creates confusion: it's a case of diminishing marginal utility."
http://www.sitepronews.com/archives/2007/apr/4.html

11 WAYS to drive traffic AWAY from your website:
http://www.sitepronews.com/archives/2007/apr/4.html

SIMPLICITY - why websites should be simple:
http://www.websitenotes.com/2007a/0418.html


COMMUNICATING WELL

POWERPOINT: Really Bad PowerPoint - Seth Godin points the way to better presentations:
http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2007/01/really_bad_powe.html

EVANGELISM FOR INTROVERTS: "If I can learn some new techniques, maybe I'll be more successful and see more results, and God (and others) will be pleased with me." You really want to share your faith, but it seems so hard.Sorry - this article won't go there. Witnessing will never get easier if you're focusing on techniques. If it's hard and you inwardly dread sharing your faith, it's probably because you're trying to do something in ways that don't match the way God designed you," writes Mike Bechtle:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b07april-onmission

MAGAZINE WRITING TRAINING: MTI are running another Christian writing seminar, this time in Los Angeles rather than the usual E Europe or Asian venues. Many of the writing skills they teach are also transferable to the Web:
http://www.magazinetraining.com/specialsems.htm

COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN - Why do Boomers and Gen-Xers communicate differently? Learn how the other half think, and how to communicate with them:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b07april-crazy


JAPAN - A MISSED OPPORTUNITY

One of the 'major modern mission misses' (can we call these '4Ms'?) of our time is the huge disparity between the highly-wired, tech-loving Japanese population, and the searing lack of online evangelism in the Japanese language.

For instance, YouTube popularity is exploding in Japan, comments the Christian 'Pacific Rim Media' blog:
"YouTube's user base is growing more quickly in Japan than any of the other major websites, including Yahoo Japan, Amazon.co.jp or Wikipedia.org, according to the latest report by Internet research firm NetRatings Japan. Even though it does not have a separate Japanese-language version, last month YouTube notched up its 10 millionth Japanese visitor after just 14 months - ­one-fifth of the nation's entire home Internet users.

"IMPLICATION: If more and more Japanese are going to YouTube and viewing videos, how could we use this low cost medium to reach Japanese?"
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/PacificRimMediaNotes/~3/106671716/

BLOGOSPHERE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF MUSINGS - 70 million of them...
Three new blogs start, every second! Of course, similar numbers probably fade away too. The remarkable thing is that of the total of 70 million, the largest language grouping is Japanese, with 37%. English is in second place, with Chinese third:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article1620557.ece

This highlights to us yet again, the strategic significance of the Web for Japan. It's a highly-wired, technically-minded, prosperous country. Many Japanese cannot read English sufficiently well to use English-medium websites. And church growth has been depressingly minimal. Most Japanese have a benign indifference to the Christian message, and statistically are unlikely to know a Christian personally, or see Christianity modelled within the community of a local fellowship.

The Web, therefore, could be uniquely strategic in starting millions of Japanese on a spiritual journey, using 'bridge strategy' topics within websites, blogs and video clips.


POPULAR CULTURE

"FACING THE CHALLENGE OF TV" is a new online downloadable course, and has been getting very positive reviews. Christians are often unaware of how to relate to, or interpret, popular culture. We can therefore be seriously handcapped both in terms of developing a biblical worldview, and in finding points of contact to share the good news. Parts of the course are available to preview in PDF format:
http://www.facingthechallenge.org/television.htm

"CANADA'S most intriguing rock band" - Time Magazine. Find spiritual parallels in Arcade Fire's music from culture-watcher Dave Buckna:
http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2007/s07030103.htm

AMERICAN IDOL 2007: No less than four of the current six finalists identify as Christians! Melinda is a professional singer working with www.musicforthesoul.org and as a backing singer; Jordin also sings gospel; Lakisha (as befits a banker, is treasurer of her church; it has been commented that she is looking rather homesick now - it must be hard not to have her daughter with her); and Phil, who is a music minister:
http://www.americanidol.com/

BOOKS: Get online classic novels:
http://www.readprint.com/


THE WORLD WE LIVE IN

THE UNCHURCHED: A major UK supermarket publicity department displayed its lack of knowledge about Easter. This really is the post-Christian era that many of us live in - you may know as much about, say, the Sikh religion, as a considerable percentage of westerners know of Christianity.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article1610495.ece

WHAT IS WEB 2.0? "What does it mean? Is there a precise definition that all webmasters can get their heads around and understand?" asks Titus Hoskins in WebProNews. "Not really, many believe Web 2.0 is just another one of those contrived buzzwords, signifying mostly marketing hype! However, perhaps the simple definition can be found in the word 'you'! Time magazine probably summed it up best by making reference to the 'you' in user generated content."
http://www.sitepronews.com/archives/2007/feb/19.html

PEW INTERNET REPORT. Teens, Privacy and Online Social Networks - how teens manage their online identities and personal information in the age of MySpace:
http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/211/report_display.asp


WIKIPEDIA - A UNIQUE PHENOMENON

The idea that a single coherent knowledge-base of articles on almost anything, can be produced by Internet users at large, is quite fascinating. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia like no other.

Inevitably, it has come in for criticism for perceived bias or ineptitude by a few of its volunteer editors, and indeed its founder is not happy with it! But as a first-stop resource for an introduction to virtually any topic you can imagine, it is unrivalled - with a standard format, cross-references and onward links, and unlike a personal homepage on any topic, can be corrected, amended or expanded. By anyone.

What sort of people like to contribute? Meet some here:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b07april-wikipedia

It is very easy to become an editor. So if you have areas of expertise, and can write in a neutral unbiased and non-partisan style, why not sign up?
http://www.wikipedia.org/


TAILEND ô¿ô

Google always has a refreshing sense of humor - check out their 1 April news release on a "revolutionary form of broadband":
http://www.google.com/tisp

Learning guitar? Like to play Paganini like Li Jie does?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98y0Q7nLGWk

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