The Web 2.0 Culture

In the last few months, I have really begun to think about where our culture is and where it is heading.  Follow my random thoughts for a moment on the undercurrent of our culture’s direction:

  •  10 years ago, the most watched TV shows were comedy and dramas.  This genre dominated the airwaves.
  • 10 years ago, the most common use of the growing Internet was passively surfing.  Only companies with big budgets and big software able to create webpages had information on the internet.
  • Today, the most common TV show programs are Reality driven.  Ordinary people being filmed throughout life and in different situations.
  • Another element of the most popular TV shows is audience participation.  You decide who wins on American Idol.  You can win money on Deal or No Deal.  You can choose what videos are next to be played.  Not only are ordinary people celebrated, but you can make a difference in real time on what is happening on the screen.
  • Today, the most used function of the Internet is what some people are calling Web 2.0.  Web 2.0 is not a new version of the Internet, but a new way to use it.  10 years ago, people passively surfed websites, now the most common spots to frequent are where you can actually contribute: MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, blogs, forums, Wikipedia, etc.  You have the power in your hand to contribute, comment, publish, etc.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I am blogging on this topic.  The reason is that this is drastically changing our culture even if we don’t realize the full implications of it yet.  Our culture is still obsessed with celebrities, but we are also becoming more obsessed with ourselves.  Anyone can be heard, seen, or published in this new era of technology.  Some of it selfish and the church should address it.

But this new reality culture also provides the church with an amazing opportunity.  Never before has it been so easy and so accessible for churches to get the message out.  With the power of some technology, someone could be impacted by the gospel at any time.  In essence, the church never sleeps.  By posting something on this blog, I never know when someone may read something that I posted (a comment about our church, a Scriptural insight, a tool to use) and be impacted by it.  Quite often, churches shrink away from technology advances.  Most churches were way behind the bandwagon on developing a website, but now it is the primary way people check out a church before ever entering the doors.

What is the implication of all this?  Well, I’m dreaming big right now.  What if North Side began to empower its people to realize that the church never sleeps.  What if resources could be found at any time in any place in the world?  What if we were able to equip people and advance the Kingdom of God even when the physical doors of the church were shut?  What would happen if we used tools that the world is using for evil and vain purposes, and we started taking the gospel to every venue we could get ourselves into?

This doesn’t mean anything yet.  Just some thoughts on how we can be in the world but not of the world.  If the majority of our culture is going to sites to build some shallow sense of community, could we not point them in the right direction?  Could we start using the medium of technology to be a front door for our church even more?

More to come on this.