May 28th, 2012 by bigjim
Do you remember using film to take photos? That may sound like a facetious question, but the reality is that there is a generation (if not two) of children who are growing up with no concept or contact with film in cameras or any other medium. They’re still taking photos though, and at a greater rate than ever!
The popularity of smartphones, like the iPhone and Android offerings, are also allowing for the photo-taking and sharing experience to evolve at a great rate of knots. Since these devices usually have cellular or wireless networking connections, the ability to share photos is almost as easy as taking them in the first place. There are hundreds of apps that encourage taking, editing and sharing photos on the very device that took them.
Instagram is one such app, and a popular one at that. The app allows smartphone users to take a photo and then apply one of a series of ‘filters’ which change the appearance of the image. These filters are often based on the way photos used to look when taken by, say, a polaroid camera. With names like Lo-fi, Valencia and 1977, most of their users probably don’t even get the reference – they just know it makes the photos look cool and ‘vintage’.
What value would you place on such a collection of features? Well, Facebook made quite a splash recently when they acquired Instagram for US$1 billion. As astonishing as that number may sound, it’s somewhat reflective of a change in paradigm that is taking place.
Where words dominated the early days of the web, Facebook is among those that recognise that an increasing number of people are realising that a picture really can be worth a thousand words. So, think about how that should affect your evangelisation efforts.
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May 20th, 2012 by bigjim
Another week, another social network. You could be forgiven for thinking that a new one appears with that kind of frequency. And while that may be a slight exaggeration, it is getting harder to distinguish the wheat from the MySpace…er…chaff.
In order to rise above the rest, some networks are attempting to take a very different approach. A good example of this is Path. Available for both iOS (iPhones) and Android, Path started in late 2010 as a way to “keep a personal journal or ‘Path’ of your life.” The app – and it is an app, with the only way point of access being via your phone – is a bit of an amalgamation of common social features seen in other networks: sharing photos, status/text updates, and connecting with friends.
It is that last feature that is a bit different though – unlike Twitter, where the limit number of on followers is non-existent, or on Facebook where it is in the thousands, on Path you can only add 150 people to your network.
Why would a social network put limitations on how social you can be? Their argument is that “we tend to have 5 best friends, 15 good friends, 50 close friends and family, and 150 total friends.” Read another way, the value of digital friendship isn’t high, given how common they can be. Path reminds you that true relationships are scarce and precious, and that you shouldn’t lose sight of that just because you’re now connected to a global online community.
Given that our Church started when Christ started to walk His path with 12 of his closest friends, the impact of building strong relationships with a special few can be huge! So, maybe it’s time to take another look at your social networks, and think about quality vs. quantity.
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