iBelieve

January 5, 2012 12:45 pm

Our Facebook, who art in Google, Tweeted be thy name…

The Message has indisputable proof that online content is a divine offering – although for those who worship at the altar of social media, the idea of religion and technology combining forces will not be all that far-fetched. After all, these days we’re more likely to see people appeal for help through a status update than through prayer.

Organised religion has long struggled with the fact that rolling with the times is the only way to stay afloat, but when you’re trying to get ancient lessons across to a Gen Y audience, how do you bridge the divide?

Well, for starters, you make an iPhone app. In a move endorsed by Bishops, an app has been developed that helps repentant Catholics catalogue their sins in order to remember them all for confession – a sacrament that at this stage they must still deliver to a priest in person. (Ironically, people have been cataloguing their sins on mobile phones for years now, only it used to be known as ‘sexting’!)

On a serious note, however, this represents an opportunity to merge old church teachings with new ways of communicating and dust off the pews to receive larger congregations. The Bible, Torah and Quran are already available in eBook format, you can follow your favourite Catholics via Tweet Catholic (dibs on Mel Gibson, he comes out with some pearlers!) and the Church of Scientology has had a well-documented battle with Wikipedia when members were banned from editing pages about the Church as a result of attempts to skew opinion.

Seems there ain’t nothing like the democracy and transparency of social media to put the kibosh on all the smoke-and-mirrors operations of controversial cults religions.

Social media marketing is all about taking time-tested principles and making them relevant in a changing landscape. Hillsong and other evangelical churches have long been on the tech-train. Google ‘Christian iPhone Apps’ and you’ll find a dedicated online directory featuring (our favourite) iChristian, a pocket evangelist that contains the information required to become a Christian, with a feature that allows you to request a certificate in the mail. Baptism by smart phone.

When you go fishing, you cast your line where the water’s moving. Social media marketing is the hook in a global pool that’s definitely producing big ripples. If organised religion wants to live past this generation, it has to make like every other big business and stay visible.

Besides, Moses himself held up tablets. It’s just that his weren’t of the Android variety…

 

 

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