Web 2.0: The Gospel Vehicle There seems to be a growing power shift in the online marketplace of spiritual ideas and religious content. The term Web 2.0 is used to describe a second generation of the World Wide Web (www) that is focused on the ability for people to collaborate and share information online. One of the components of Web 2.0 is the social web which consists of a number of online tools and platforms where people share their perspectives, opinions, thoughts and experiences. This technology has changed the way people communicate and it impacts can be seen today in various professions; these includes business, politics, entertainment, journalism, activism, education etc. Web 2.0 has provided teachers with new ways to engage students through the use of blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. It has also opened up new possibilities for peer-to-peer charities, which allow individuals to donate funds to charitable projects. Virtual relationships are now real relationships. Through online networks, individuals can express authenticity, earn trust, and achieve credible voices on all sorts of topics. Interestingly, internet experts believe web 3.0 may unfold in the next decade; an era when technology will allow its users to sit back and let the Internet do all of the work for them. Having understood the power of Web 2.0, should Christians participate in such collaborations? Personally am positive about it despite the widespread irrational use of the technology by many. It is quite obvious that the social media is a revolutionary communication vehicle for the gospel. Spiritual confusion is now online and available for the world to see. By joining the communities and engaging in the dialogue, Christians will be creating a new, authentic and transforming voice for the church. Christians can make a difference and affect lives by joining social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+, MySpace, Bebo, LinkedIn, Netlog etc.; social news e.g. Reddit, Digg; video channels such as YouTube, Viddle, or Vimeo; instant messaging such as AIM, Yahoo, live etc.; e-mail e.g. Google Mail, Google Apps Mail, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, AOL Mail etc.; blogging e.g. blogger, Wordpress and so on. And once we are followed as a meaningful voice in spiritual matters, we can quickly influence the discussion with the gospel through micro blogging tools such as Twitter or Plurk. Each of these tools can be linked, shared, and embedded in the others, making Web 2.0 scenarios virtually limitless. â€œWhether we like it or not, social networks and other media tools will play a crucial role in the delivery of spiritual information (both truth and deception). Hence if we are not engaged in the online marketplace of spiritual ideas, we will miss one of the greatest opportunities for the Great Commission.â€? In order to stay on top of current events, and participate effectively in the social web environment, certain tools that will help you stay organise need to be in place. You can find some listed below and many others available and often free. Google
Google has always been my best ‘friend’! It is a corporate organisation whose mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Google is primarily known around the world as an internet search engine, its various products can make your life and career pursuit so easy. I still remember when I first used washing machine; I was alone and wanted to use the machine but having no clue of how to, and then I remembered Google search. I went and typed how to use washing machine and the link redirect me to a YouTube video where I followed the tutorial. From then, I never write or cram web addresses, whenever people call to ask me simple question, I refer them to Google. In-fact type your name on Google search and you will be surprised the result you will see! This is why no link is provided to any resources in the article, type your keyword and follow the relevant link. Some of the Google products that you will find significant may include: Google search tool: these tools include Google search, scholar, news, etc. Google Operating Systems: Chrome, Android and Google TV. Google Applications and publishing tools: these includes Blogger, Bookmarks, Calendar, Docs, Earth, Map, Reader, Talk, Gmail, Google+, iGoogle, YouTube Aggregators Aggregators are RSS or Atom feed (news, images, audios, videos) readers that allow you to read news and updates from various blogs and sources in a single view (browser-based, desktop-based/stand-alone e.g. FeedDemon, web-based such as Google reader as well as mobile-based). These tools can simplify your spiritual and career networking activities. Bookmark Managers Bookmark managers make it easy to build a personal directory where one can tap into sites and materials that have been saved online and share them with others. It is a great tool for collaboration. Common and free bookmarks besides the browsers’ built-in include: del.icio.us, Diigo, Furl, Yahoo Bookmarks, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. These tools are well supported in mobile environments. Smart Phones Applications Just like computers have word processing applications like Microsoft Word or internet browsing applications like Mozilla Firefox, tablets have their own apps specifically made for them. But the great thing about apps is that most of them are either free or extremely low cost. Depending on your smartphone platform (iOS by Apple and Android by Google) and products such as iPad, iPhones or Android; the following applications can enable you use these techs for God: The most popular Christian app, by far, is the YouVersion Bible app, developed by a multiple-site-campus church known as LifeChurch.tv. The free app offers
several translations and allows users easily to post verses directly onto Facebook and Twitter. It has audio reading and daily devotional support. Others include: Title: Bible, Publisher: Lifechurch.tv, Cost: Free, Platform: iOS & Android The most read book of all time is also one of the most popular apps for both platforms. This app has so much to offer. You can get the Bible in over 150 translations including different English (NIV, KJV, etc.) and Spanish language versions. You can also listen to audio versions of the Bible, and there is a multitude of reading plans to keep you on track. Title: Our Daily Bread, Publisher: RBC Ministries, Cost: $0.99, Platform: iOS & Android The Our Daily Bread app allows you to download a full month of devotionals at a time. The daily Bible passage is linked to biblegateway.com, so one click will bring up the passage (when internet is available). Title: K-LOVE Positive & Encouraging, Publisher: jacAPPS, Cost: Free, Platform: iOS & Android The K-LOVE app is a simple option to get commercial-free Contemporary Christian music streamed right to your phone or tablet. The app also has an alarm clock feature as well as options to purchase songs and visit the K-LOVE website all from within the app. Internet access is required to use this app. Title: Kindle, Publisher: Amazon, Cost: Free, Platform: iOS & Android EBooks purchased on Amazon can generally be shared on up to 6 devices with the Kindle app for no additional cost. So the whole family can all be reading the same book at once, which can lead to some really enriching family conversations. I hope Web 2.0 will lead you to a stronger and more fulfilling walk with the Lord.