the road ahead

The Power of Image
February 28, 2010, 6:16 pm
Filed under: business, ministry, spirituality

As a publisher I have been facing a growing reality about the future. As a Baby Boomer, I have and will live the rest of my life in a text-driven world. “Reading is fundamental” is a phrase I have heard all my life. But as I observe the next generation’s behavior, I am stunned by the power of images and their impact on their learning processes. The evidence is growing that the next generation starts with an image and then moves to reading text.

Consider this: Children and young adults are bombarded with an overwhelming number of images everyday, and technology supports this image-dominant reality. We can connect to images from our mobile phones, TVs, computers.The power of image is a reality. A picture is now worth more than a thousand words.

Here is an example of the power of images: NavPress is excited about these innovative image-based resources. There will be more to come–hope you will stay tuned.


Online Obscurity?
February 21, 2010, 6:51 pm
Filed under: business, ministry, spirituality

How would you rate yourself and your online activity? Is the pressure for a bigger, broader online interconnectivity causing anxiety and stress in your life? When you get that strange “friend” request from an absolute stranger, do you pause and wonder if this is really what you wanted from an online experience?

The things that some people will tweet in order to get a broader audience seem to stretch the real purpose for all of this online reality. For some, the allure of an online platform gives them the chance to tell us (me) more about them than I really want to know, from the food they are consuming to the exercise routine that consumes them. I currently am pausing and asking the question:  Is it time for online obscurity?

I recently was drawn to these thoughts from a very thoughtful blog post from Clive Thompson. (It’s a great article–you should read it.) I remember a few years ago talking with a man who said that the average person in life will only have about 5 to 7 real friends. His thought was that in order to really have time with someone, you have to invest deeply in the relationship, and because of time constraints, you can only invest deeply in a few friends. So perhaps Facebook has become for many Acquaintance Book or Connection Book? Could it be that the larger our social network grow, the more it lessens our virtual connectivity?

I want my social networks to be about real conversation and connection. How about this: I want to talk with my digital friends, not talk at them!

Any thoughts? Am I the only one?

Media Kids
February 14, 2010, 3:16 pm
Filed under: business, ministry, spirituality

New research has recently noted continued changes among children in the use of various types of media technologies. New electronic devices continue to show up in the hands of young people, and the impact on reading and learning will be significant.

It’s incredible to consider the amount of time the average young person spends using new technological tools. All the debate about the digital generation is over! Businesses, ministries, and parents need to understand the changes that impact the next generation.

Are you ready for all of this?

Facebook Beats Google?
February 7, 2010, 7:56 pm
Filed under: business, ministry

Who will be the leader of the online world? Will Facebook move ahead of Google? Or will Google be able to maintain its powerful leadership position? And why would that matter? Why would that be important to the casual user of the internet?

The incredible number of individuals who use these online platforms make Facebook and Google the center of the virtual universe! Facebook’s growth will soon surpass Yahoo and make it third place behind Google and Microsoft.

It is hard to imagine, but soon Facebook could beat Google in page views. Think about it: Facebook is all about online relationships; Google, well, it is all about searches for information. So even in the virtual world relationships are at the center of the experience.

This is something that believers who deny that the virtual world is the new global mission field should consider.

Are you connected?

Pay to Read?
January 10, 2010, 8:24 pm
Filed under: business

Looks like Internet users are getting more comfortable with paying for a portion of their content online as noted by a recent Nielson survey.

However, not all Internet content is equal in the eyes of the consumer. Music tops the list of pay to play along with movies, games, and TV shows. It is interesting to note that online magazines and newspapers did make the list. It appears that about 50% of users would get out their credit card to read some magazines or newspapers online.

But what about online content from book publishers? The survey did not give any results on this very important content.

What do you think readers would do?

Virtual Communities of Trust
December 6, 2009, 7:36 pm
Filed under: business, ministry, spirituality

I have been reading a very interesting book, Viral Loop by Adam L. Penenberg. It reminded me of the importance of trust when it comes to the internet.

Here is what I mean: All who socialize on the internet have a public self and a digital self. Interestingly the difference in relationships in our physical and virtual relationships is very small.

As a digital friend, you are known in a much larger network than in your physical relationships. Think about it–if you Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or participate in some other online social network, your digital relationships are much larger than the number of real-world friendships. As we connect online, we establish relationships of trust with a broader number of people, many of whom we have never met in person.

Why do so many participate in these online communities? As I learned from Viral Loop, “social networking makes us happy. Engaging with friends helps us live longer and better lives.” The author quotes a study that found that people with large networks of friends lived longer than those with fewer friends. But here is the big difference: The physical distance between the friends did not matter. A social network of trusting friends helped people live longer! So whether by phone, letter, or internet, a community of trusting friends makes us happy!

As you Facebook or Twitter, you are part of a virtual community of trust. What do you think about that? I would love to hear your comments.

Is Second Life Dead?
November 29, 2009, 3:51 pm
Filed under: business, ministry, spirituality

In 2006 Second Life was hailed as the new virtual experience in social networking. Perhaps you were like me and gave it a try. I established my avatar and began my journey in Second Life. I would fly to church and to stores from island to island. (If you don’t know what I mean by “flying,” then you really should check out Second Life.) But most of the time I felt as if I were all alone in a virtual ghost town!

I read a very interesting article that talked about Second Life’s decline. The lessons learned from Second Life can help us understand what works and what does NOT work in the virtual world. I am not really up for recreating a physical world in the virtual. It so predictable.

I don’t think this represents the future of social networking. But of course that is just my opinion. I would say it looks like Second Life is about dead! What do you think?