Digital Event Life(style)

#cmn10, notes, day 2

As before, my rough notes from the conference, with bits added in as I think of them…

Prof. Tony Campolo, Prof Sociology, activist, Evangelical Democrat…

The Fundamentals of the Christian Faith.. 1930s… movement ‘fundamentalism’ started – was respectable… open minded, intelligent, etc… but soon became legalistic & sectarian, separate from mainline orgs. Billy Graham/Christianity Today – decided needed new name = evangelical.

Evangelical – means – believe in doctrines of Apostles Creed. High view of scripture (infallible message from God – acknowledges are contradictions within text?), salvation = intimate transforming relationship with Jesus.

1960s – liberal orientation *homosexuality & pro-life. Hot Buttons. 70 million born-again evangelical Christians – so politics make issue hot topic (Republicans could win on anti-these-issues). Secular Media – decided who the go-to persons (Jerry Forewell & Pat Robinson) were 7 soon ‘evangelical’ also had baggage. (Anti woman, gay, environmentalism, Muslims, Democrats, pro-war). Harvard students ‘knew’ who he was.. Campolo so many ways NOT that…

Need ANOTHER name… Red-letter Christians. Shane Clayborne, etc. Best sermon ever – ‘The Sermon on the Mount’ – “obviously Jesus was joking as if we take him seriously our lifestyles would be very different”. Wish Jesus had said ‘should not’, not ‘cannot’… Recession – so much money lost – what about ‘do not store treasures for yourselves in heaven’. So glad went to theological seminary – realised Jesus didn’t mean EXACTLY what he said… e.g. don’t have to give away everything, just need to be willing to do so…  NOW going back to the scriptures! Babylon – the dominant economic-social system – often referred to… $250,000 a minute being spent in Iraq – borrowing the money from China. Scripture says – every Babylon falls.  To maintain Babylon, uses resources… at some point – e.g.other nations say – we won’t feed your habits any more…

Red Letter Christians are fighting back against the media, dominated by evangelical Christians. Hope for Justice – naivety – belief that if arrest ‘the bad guys’ – all done – but blames the media – that media is sexist, and is a bigger problem to deal with. Unpopular view – but why are e.g. MTV – women undressed/just because Christian words, does it make … E.g. One girl, ‘serviced 100 men’ – why are we so concerned with getting 1 woman off the streets, why not dealing with the 100 men who are exploiting them. Church too obsessed with gays to focus on the dominant culture in their own congregations… Muslims – justifiable when call us decadent & consumerist. Red Letter Christians – embraced basic lifestyles. Good degree ? good job ? money ? stuff. Why do we interpret lives in terms of appreciating ‘stuff’.

James Gunn Princeton – consumerist culture to blame for a lot of problems, esp in African-American. Goals to reach (stuff) via socially prescribed means of getting there. In USA more than 50% born to single parents… New Jersey – 42% likely that will spend a year behind bars before 25… have same goals ‘stuff’, but don’t have access to e.g. the education which allows them access to ‘stuff’. We don’t need the Holy Spirit – we have Coca Cola (indoctrinated by media) – world in perfect harmony – seems unreal, then voice says ‘It’s the Real Thing’.

Sociologists – say – if can’t have legitimate means of reaching things, will use illegitimate means. Media – both reflector of culture and creator of culture. People in East saying, do you in the West have any sense of modesty whatsover. Environmentalism – essentially a way to maintain our current lifestyles without changing them… Into Iraq – not to give democracy – democracy is not just giving a free election, but it’s a place in which it’s safe to be a minority. Radio/TV no longer main source of news – they are online. Teenagers, etc. – get their news from specific TV programmes… Main denominations – should be ‘the sidelined denominations’ – are new movements coming through – e.g. counter-cultural emerging churches. With online communications – can challenge the mainstream churches who aren’t involved… Everyone dies – when you die are you going to be the only one who’s happy – it depends on how you live – is it all about the stuff?! Counter-cultural – reject the titles … and the culture…

QUESTIONS: God is in control? Return to Bible – God will reign.. can’t defend omnipotent God… with e.g. Haiti, Cumbria, etc. Task of the church to reclaim the world for under the Lordship of Christ  – how can we do this if we believe that Jesus is already in control.

148th Psalm – environmental – everything created to praise God. Calivinists believe we’re the centre of the universe…. created for us to enjoy. All created to reflect the glory of God. E.g. if lose a species – silence a hymn to God – commit blasphemy!

Cameron/Obama – going to be cuts – where do we start? The military? Christians need to learn to live in community, rather than as individuals. What does God require of you – not praise songs, but fight for justice… Plausibility group – to keep you committed – individually we all fall prey.

Should Christians work in the media? Of course, but be subversive – don’t become a ‘systems man’/play corporate games! Christians invade every sector of the system…


David Holdswoth, BBC controller of English Regions

Gavin Sheppard, Media Trust

Duncan Williams, Newspaper Entrepreneur


BBC Regions – aims to be most trusted & creative local & regional broadcaster in England. 7% of licence fee produces 71% of output. 40 stations, 8 million listeners. Focus on distinctiveness.

English Regional TV – still hunger for local information – e.g. in the snow – had amazing figures, although even in general = good. News, weather, travel, sport. 45 local websites. Balance between linear/online world appropriately – getting the balance between ‘the dad’ & ‘the lad’. Dad, even after training can’t use it. Lad, only watches football on TV otherwise everything online.


Faith in what you’re hearing, and a belief that you can be a part of it – local media. 24 hour media only really a worry for those writing schedules – not really a concern for those who consume. BBC News 24 – if watch for more than 1 hour = deja vue. More important things locally = news/weather/traffic – e.g. find out the hyper-local news in the church (e.g. local fete, change in use, etc.). Newsletter – can consume passively through headlines. This year, 54% trust online news, 34% papers, 52% TV, 66% radio… Trust by Council Run newspapers – fall dramatically… Need independent local press that people can engage with – engage is key – can’t just be a one-way thing.  Media, when used correctly – has phenomenal power to change things. If those ‘on the sidelines’ can become engaged, start to realise that don’t need to remain there – confidence in democracy in which they live, or information to contribute locally, validation & recognition!


Exciting times – change emanates from the bottom… Funding can’t be done by fundraising, has to be done via e.g. advertising. Pay for quality journalism – difficult in recession. We get caught up in the machine – striving for the house/car, etc. Local stories – inspiring – often not followed up by national press. Advertisers are interested in being associated with a positive newspaper… morally – why do we put up with these newspapers… why do we enjoy stories that actively harm/attack people – can we change that by great local papers – local opportunities – stories & support economic growth. Can’t rely on cover price for papers – so talking to mobile phone companies – possibility of subsidising e.g. phone access to content!

Anyone can publish a blog, etc. but we need quality news. Local media started out as vicar’s newsletter for local news… Now become very distorted…

QUESTIONS: Expects local media to work through mobile, etc. – e.g. iPad – people will read from there – use some of the contract monies to fund journalists?! Most blogs, etc. – take their lead from the national press… need widest range of press to draw on – need citizen-led journalism but alongside = quality journalism. So many schooled to beat the opposition- now having to learn to work together. Magazine = longer shelf life & attract more expensive advertising – supports local press… Avoid creating sensationalist news (e.g. ‘Only kills 6’)…

Positive/Negative news – complaints not enough positive stories. Given 6 stories to rank into importance, and always would put ‘200 lose jobs’ over ‘200 jobs gained’.

Maybe don’t want Paxman style, but do want people called properly to account.

What’s happening in 10 years – more digital, but always a place for print news because can use it more passively. Rise in citizen journalism.

Naturally curious & lots of ideas – otherwise not right for media… Multi-skilled is important – find story, write it, make video, edit & a discussion forum. Find a voice/a blog – show your passion!


Childwise Monitor Report 2009-10 (pdf)

Club Penguin – not alien to 5-8 year olds, in virtual worlds. The kids are waiting for the teachers to come on board and interact!

Pressure from 9 year olds for mobile phones.

Clex Report (global identity)

We – listen to more radio because we’re on the internet. TV, we watch TV via own scheduling…

9-12 year olds, SATs and looking forward to senior school. Most popular site is Facebook… even though not supposed to be on it til 12. Go on daily to play Farmville – virtual dog – feed daily (like a modern tamagotchi).

Online – Enhancing or divorcing experiences..

Who is writing this report, how dubious are they? What questions did they ask?

Aspirational viewing (Just 17, Dave, Skins)

13-16 year olds.

Socially acceptable to share/free (etc.)  – e.g. uni students (Google Books), share music. 1 in 4 download apps – expected to grow.

Spotify – £10 month, no advertising, listen offline

What can we do with this information?!

Being part of that community wherever it may be – online or in the pub or wherever. Being authentic (indrag not outreach – traditional evangelism – now looking for pull in rather than pushing out)… gives you right to be who you are – with faith as part of it. BEING GENUINE

Before, during, after… extends an event!Build up audience beforehand, then through event then close down. Pre-history, etc., then follow live events & discuss after…

New Media needs to not be ‘new media’ any more, but part of an integrated/convergent package. Got to be interested in the content… Very scared of it… NOT NEW MEDIA

Socks for Happy People – treat everyone as major donor.

Comments – expect – can’t have 100% control… why get so much negativity from PR.

Press release – comments – not just ‘read it’…

Social Media allows people to get involved in democracy (Digital Economy Bill). Tweet questions from real time…  Live Sat feed follow debates & tweet in…Serious democracy.

e.g. Facebook ‘I voted’. What was being said on TV and what real people saying on Twitter..

LibDems – implying going to do well, etc. – says more about social media profile (younger!), etc. Provided engagement of the younger generation.

The Million £ Drop – total interactivity – if lost, you lost?

Leaders – speak to people – afraid of the 2 way debate… pilot project – loved it continued. Start people with blog offline ? online.

(Rachel – how to blog)

Need to change e.g. the education system (schools, universities, giving that digital literacy & that confidence so that they can become thought leaders). DIGITAL LITERACY.

Churches facilitate.. everyday events e.g. cvs, social media

Zimbabwe – greatest opps coming through social media & internet. 4 million in exile. Trying to come up with strategies for groups, etc.. how know being effective…

Kenya – few have internet, but most have bluetooth.. so utilise this.. Bluetooth video.



Creative, low cost entry, changing all the time, since Gutenberg (the first time that Christians have chance to get on the front page).

Carrie Longton, Mumsnet

Met Justine at anti-natal classes, mum novices – wanted to share information so ‘who to know’. Forum – interactive way of talking (different from blog). Worked because could only work online – for the volume, etc. If you don’t want to know, don’t ask, but if you do want to have a debate – use social media, etc. We are the ‘Tripadvisor generation’ – knows how to critique. Simple rules on the forum – can still be tricky to monitor. Not one easy way of doing it, but have to be prepared to put your money where your mouth is. Sometimes not going to change people – can get very wound up when just can’t… Social media can suck you in, but learn to let it go! Moderation = the wisdom of the crowds – rare that wrong information/slander, etc exists – can leave & sometimes people come back & show how they’ve changed…  Big thing to be wary of – anyone could be who they said they are… How much to put up – if you don’t want to be identifiable, don’t make yourself too identifiable (e.g. if your mum might ever be on there, be happy?!)

What has really made a difference is the small acts of kindness, etc.. Remember, the bad stories get the press, there’s lots of positive stories. How does this interact with the geography/”real”, etc. – e.g. recommends from online/local, etc. Need volume, traffic or loyal followers (who goes through your affiliates) – might cover costs – didn’t earn anything for 6 years – don’t expect to get rich quick! If you have a community – and can offer them something valuable – then may start to see returns. Advertising policy has been agreed by users…

Simon Cohen, MD, Global Tolerance (UNESCO, Bible Society, PR expert)

Passionate soc media to inspire positive social change. Change was slow, etc. Religious affairs website for those not caring about religion known as ‘Adam & Eve It’. Comes from a Jewish background, picked on at school… Why do we still see pics of Twin Towers 9 years after event – what more positive images can we see, etc. Can do moderation, can do naval-gazing – but can walk away… moderation… similar as in physical space set up in a space where self-regulated – where people ‘know’ how to facilitate – set the tone for the dialogue that ensues… More we put up superficial barriers between who we are online/offline more difficult to ‘play the game’.

Thinking about relationships by how close people are to his heart – how much of me am I willing to share before engaging in each relationship, whether personal or business. Facebook – invited to free party, had some of the free nibbles, so don’t complain because it was free. It’s not Facebook taking away our privacy – we’re choosing how much of yourself you are prepared to put up!

Faithbook on Facebook – you’d be daft not to use Facebook, next year over 600 million users (3rd largest country) – plug in where people already are, rather than trying to drag them somewhere else. Rarely have your core activists on Facebook – move from like to love – tend to take it away… Close circle – move to e.g. Ning.

Advantage online vs offline campaigns. Not what set out to be but politicians started to take an interest, realised had leverage from women who are a strong force… Can have quick discussions on a issue that wouldn’t have been possible if needed to bring everyone into it. In an age, not so interested in problems, but in solutions…

Facebook causes a helpful start for info. Use Ning. Pink Giving – can raise funds through there.

QUESTIONS – agree convergence online/offline lives

How to make public aware of how to use online applications, and how to use them well.

Faith communities – talk about what this means for whole life, etc. Each of us needs to be as educated as we can be for this, similar respect for online/offline…

STRESS THE EMPHASIS – On coherent  genuineness between online/offline

Being online – might be freer online – can be anonymous – can admit to each other that e.g. hate 3 year old, and can find others who agree… Can find others who can help each other…

Why not Dadsnet? Parentsnet wasn’t as catchy – and Dads just don’t communicate in the same way!! Objected to ‘the Men’s Room’ – so is Dadsnet…

Simon – expenses – was in the media (as are Mps) – culture of expenses there – funny that media broke news on Mps – where most expenses are fiddled..

Tips for Facebook page with little traffic – how to get? Start by personalising it. Difficult to relate to an organisation or a brand! EASIER TO RELATE TO A HUMAN BEING – get to know the people behind the labels, make it as interesting or vibrant as you can – lots of people afraid of online, etc. and start to get people into it – say to people – make this a great place then can invite friends to join… Difficulty of presenting the organisation – a persona that is not me… it’s not authentic, that’s why it’s not working. Gordon Brown – attacked for not being authentic enough – don’t spout jargon/policy, something that isn’t from you – and get seen through instantly! Decide to be you, or say it’s not for us…

What is the future of the internet?

GT: Dotspots – take advantage of people’s existing online uses, rather than taking them away elsewhere…

C: No one knows, but new generation coming through to whom all this is completely normal!

By Digital Fingerprint

Digiexplorer (not guru), Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing @ Manchester Metropolitan University. Interested in digital literacy and digital culture  in the third sector (especially faith). Author of 'Raising Children in a Digital Age', regularly checks hashtag #DigitalParenting.

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