Friday, 8 February 2013

A Happy Social Medium

One thing I forgot to mention in my Social Media teach-in the other day. Don't forget, if you set up a church website, to ensure that you dedicate the bulk of the home page to the history of the church's architecture. Make sure your visitors are well aware that the past is much more important than the present life of the church.

But that is a mere digression. What I really wanted to tell you about is some of the more radical ways that churches can utilise modern technology. This is where you can really make a few quid and/or evangelistic endeavours according to preference.

Foursquare, for example, gives me a great pastoral opportunity to keep an eye on what my little flock are up to. If they are wandering aimlessly around the place, trying to find some meaning in life, I can see that by the repeated check-ins. When Young Keith and Hnaef were repeatedly taking mayorship of the White Horse from each other, I suggested they might need a bit of a break. And when Molloy became mayor of that strip joint near Markyate, I was able to make a fortune in indulgences.

And then, using Smartphone apps, we've replaced the "Embarrassing hug of Peace" with the "Bump of Peace". Everybody just waves their phones in the general direction of other people's. There's no danger of cross-infection from each other's hands, no scary close physical encounters with people you'd avoid like the plague the rest of the time. Just a friendly "bump" at a safe distance.

Then there's Bluetooth. I've had to tone down our original drive-by marketing evangelism strategy since I brought it back from Young Keith's control. It wasn't helping our reputation. "This is God - shouldn't you pop in?" was one of the things he made pop-up on some passing innocent's phone. And "You might drive into a wall - this could be your last chance to confess before you GO TO HELL" actually made someone drive off the road. Obviously, we argued in court that he shouldn't have checked the message when he was driving, and got away with it. So now I've turned the signal down, and focussed on pedestrians. These days our wayside e-pulpit just pumps anodyne comments like "Don't look down at your phone - look up at the heavens!" as you go past.

We've really got into near-field payments, of course. What a boon that is. We just choose a random amount (or "divinely-ordained appropriation of funds" and take it off the punters' contactless cards in our "off-e-rtorium". We keep the pin-pad up by the Worship Focus, so if we ever have to get authorisation, nobody really likes to object. Nobody likes a skinflint.

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