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Technology
Nearly half of Americans think so. According to Mashable: A poll conducted by the Associated Press and CNBC found that 46% of respondents think Facebook will fade away as new platforms come along in the future. However, about 43% believe the site will likely be successful for the long haul. So… what do YOU think? My guess is that it will fade just like most things do. So will Twitter. It will be like a cassette tape.  Or a CD (for that matter). We’ll still be connecting online, but with something newer and shinier than Facebook. Using facebook in 2015 may be like sending a fax today. As we’ve seen… things change quickly… very quickly. What do YOU think the future will look like?  Will Facebook be a huge part of it or not? And how are YOU using Facebook differently today than you did… say… a year ago? (For me… I use Facebook primarily with people that I actually know in real life.  I use Twitter to follow people around ideas and thoughts.) Would love to hear your input! Todd  
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Technology
A new survey from Pew says that some 40% of Americans are active in a church, religious, or spiritual organization. Compared with those who are not involved with such organizations, religiously active Americans are more trusting of others, are more optimistic about their impact on their community, think more highly of their community, are more involved in more organizations of all kinds, and devote more time to the groups to which they are active. When it comes to their technology profile, Americans who are members of religious groups are just as likely as others to use the internet, have broadband at home, use cell phones, use text messaging, and use social networking sites and Twitter. Here’s a breakdown of more of the findings: — 9 percent of those actively involved in religious groups use Twitter, the same percentage as the general population.

— 46 percent of those in religious groups use social networking sites — almost identical to the 47 percent of all adults.

— 60 percent of both groups use text messaging.

— 79 percent of those actively involved in religious groups use the Internet while 76 percent of all adults do so. — 9 percent of weekly churchgoers use Twitter (15 percent of monthly churchgoers and 14 percent of less frequent churchgoers do so). 

— 26 percent of weekly churchgoers make donations online (35 percent of monthly churchgoers; 27 percent of less frequent churchgoers).

— 70 percent of weekly churchgoers who have a cell phone send or receive text messages (80 percent of monthly churchgoers; 77 percent of less frequent churchgoers).

— 36 percent of weekly churchgoers use their cell phone to access the Internet (51 percent of monthly churchgoers; 45 percent of less frequent churchgoers).  via Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Baptist Press
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Trends
According to Experian Simmons, 98% is one eye-opening statistic for any reader, but that’s how many adults aged eighteen to twenty-four in the United States are reportedly using social media in a typical month. The study, conducted by consumer insight service Experian Simmons, estimates that roughly 129 million people — that’s 41.37% of the total US population of 311.8 million — are using social media to stay in touch with both friends and family. More statistics: 46% of all online adults use social media to communicate with friends, up from 32% in 2009. 27% say they use social media to stay in touch with their siblings, up from 15% in 2009. 18% use social media to stay in touch with their children, up from just 6% of online adults in 2009 14% of adult children use social media to communicate with their parents, up from 5% in 2009. via 98% of online US adults aged 18-24 use social media. WOW… 98% of 18-24 year olds are using social media in a month (primarily Twitter and Facebook, I would imagine).  That would tend to tell me that if your church is anywhere close to reaching 18-24 year olds, that you would have a well-thought out social media strategy in place to attract or at least to engage them. Does YOUR church? Why or why not? Todd  
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Trends
A recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that Facebook is cited in one in five divorces in the United States. Also, more than 80 percent of divorce lawyers reported a rising number of people are using social media to engage in extramarital affairs. “We’re coming across it more and more,” said licensed clinical psychologist Steven Kimmons, Ph.D., of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill. “One spouse connects online with someone they knew from high school. The person is emotionally available and they start communicating through Facebook. Within a short amount of time, the sharing of personal stories can lead to a deepened sense of intimacy, which in turn can point the couple in the direction of physical contact.” via Science Blog. OK… most of you are involved neck-deep in ministry.  Are you seeing this trend?  20% of divorces having a tie to Facebook?  True or made up?
[facebook]
 
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Staffing
My friend Jim Sheppard has posted an interview with William Vanderbloemen and Justin Lathrop on how they see staffing issues changing in churches today.  Here are some of the highlights:
  • They are starting to see new staff positions emerging, particularly among the larger and more innovative churches.  Examples:  Pastor of Social Media, Pastor of Generosity.
  • The role of the Executive Pastor seems to be expanding. More churches are hiring XPs these days.
  • Campus Pastors for multi-site churches are still in big demand, but they are not merely administrative roles…many have to be gifted communicators as well to fill in the gaps with speaking.
  • Succession is THE looming issue in the church.
You can read more details here… it’s good stuff.
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Leadership
I LOVE social media.  I’m a big user of Twitter, Facebook, and love to play around with new forms of social media.  But at the same time, i have to keep myself in check.  Too much Twitter is a bad thing.  And an obsession with Facebook can make you virtuously worthless. This parody from a Dallas news station makes a great point.  Social media is now integrated into the very fiber of our lives. As pastors and church leaders, we need to harness the power of social media without going overboard. Anyone who is not utilizing social media (or at least beginning to) will be missing out on a great opportunity to connect with your people. Take a look at this: How do YOU use social media?  How do you know when you’re getting too absorbed?  What parameters do YOU have when it comes to social media? Todd
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Technology
A revolution is taking place, one profile at a time. Online social networks like Facebook and MySpace are connecting people like never before. With hundreds of millions of users, they’re creating almost limitless potential to redefine our personal worlds. It’s a movement that’s changing how we form relationships, perceive others, and shape our identity. In his new book, The Church of Facebook (David C Cook, October 2009) author Jesse Rice takes a deeper look at the movement which, at its core, reflects our need for community. “Our longing for intimacy, connection, and a place to belong has never been a secret, but social networking offers us a new perspective on the way we engage our community,” Rice states. This new perspective raises new questions: How do these networks impact our relationships? In what ways are they shaping the way we think of ourselves? And how might this phenomenon subtly reflect a God who longs to connect with each one of us? The Church of Facebook explores these ideas and much more, offering a revealing look at the wildly popular world of online social networking. “The new landscape of social networking tells us two basic things: One, we have a deep desire to be known. And, two, we are faced with a technology that both enables and hinders the intimacy we’re looking for,” Rice says. From personal profiles to status updates, author Jesse Rice takes a thoroughly entertaining and insightful look into what Facebook reveals about us, and what it may mean for the future of “community.” Social networking is no fad; it has become a fact of life, especially for teens and twenty-somethings. The Church of Facebook is essential reading for parents and pastors who want to understand this trend and its impact on their children and congregations. Rice’s discussions will engage social networkers of all ages and stages who are wrestling with the very real issues of identity, meaning, purpose, and friendship within the context of virtual communities. Read more here…
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