At the recent Anglican Missions Conference in New Zealand, the Rev. Mark Brown presented a workshop on ‘Anglican Ministry in a Technological Age.’ He's adopted it for the web, and posted it over at his blog for the Anglican Church in Second Life.
The presentation is a wonderful overview of Web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies and how you might be able to find ways to create those presences for your youth group, church or diocese. Don't know what Web 2.0 and 3.0 are? Think of it like dimensions:
- Web 1.0 - one dimension. You have a website, people go there to get information. - Web 2.0 - two dimensions. Your website includes tools that allow people to talk to one another or to you, such as message boards, blogs, or links to communities in which people can participate, such as Facebook, MySpace, or LiveJournal communities. You also have multimedia content and have that available on your site as well as social media outlets such as YouTube. - Web 3.0 - Three dimensions. Your web presence includes the above plus communities within virtual worlds, such as Second Life.
Brown picks up some statistics (with references cited in his original post) that show why it's important to pay attention to these media vehicles, and it ties to a question of the very youth we're so fond of wanting to attract:
So what is the rate of internet usage in New Zealand? 2006 figures:
15-24 years of age - 85.5%
25-44 years of age - 79.8%
45-64 years of age - 66%
65-74 years of age - 38.7%
75+ years of age - 17.3%
Research out of the US shows that most in the 12 – 28 age bracket expect interaction with Web 2.0.
Given this age bracket comprises a key demographic for the church the question has to be asked: “what percentage of churches utilize Web 2.0?” According to a survey completed in America by the Centre for Church Communication, the percentage of churches making use of this new communication method is only 10%. One could say it is like ships passing in the night.
But he also makes a very important point about how we use this technology as he discusses blogging (emphasis his, but we'd do the same):
Blogging is about sharing information and encouraging participation and engagement with that information. At any point in the life of a church or ministry there are a range of issues that need to be shared and discussed. An example: a church is working on a new mission statement. Traditionally this might be shared via the pulpit, through extraordinary meetings etc… With the addition of a blog, an article on the mission statement could be posted and congregation members encouraged to comment and debate the merits.
As with any technological offering, it exists to assist, not replace, our present face to face methods.
Read the entire primer here.
Also, it's worth noting that the Café is establishing a presence in some of these spaces as well. We've created Episcopal Café groups in Second Life and Facebook to allow our readers and friends to interact within these platforms. The Facebook group is here, a link you'll need a Facebook account to access. If you're in Second Life, do a "Search" in "Groups" for Episcopal Cafe and you'll find us.