Misunderstood – Apple’s Holiday Ad

I saw the link to this on Twitter today. Thought it was a unique way of capturing how families celebrate the Christmas season and perhaps bridging the gap between technology and personal interaction. Or, just a commercial to make you feel a little sappy.

Enjoy!

Help YouVersion Hit 100 Million Installs

YouVersion_312x212_587x327I started using the YouVersion app well over a year ago. I use it for looking up passages while in large group gatherings and also utilize the reading plans that are available. A couple of weeks ago I received an email asking for help in reaching 100 million installs.

The email shared this info about the app: We launched the YouVersion Bible App on July 10, 2008 with one simple mission: to help people make the Bible a daily part of their life. God has brought about some pretty amazing growth in those five years, and now a very exciting milestone is on the horizon. That’s where we’d love to get your help.

It looks like the Bible App could hit its 100-million install milestone on or near the 5-year anniversary of the App Store on July 10. It’s going to be a stretch, and it will take extraordinary measures from the capital “C” Church to make it happen.

If you don’t use YouVersion, go check it out. If you do, share this info with friends. It’s a great tool to spend time in the Bible.

Bruises By Train

BruisesWhen I’m on the riding mower, I like to listen to music. I’ve synced some music on my iPhone and like to listen to it while I drive back and forth across my yard. One of my favorite groups to listen to is Train. I like their music and find many of their lyrics unique and entertaining.

One of their songs that gets stuck in my head is Bruises. The chorus says this:

These bruises make for better conversation,
Loses the vibe that separates,
It’s good to let you in again,
You’re not alone in how you’ve been,
Everybody loses, We all got bruises

The idea behind the song is two friends from high school run into each other and share their stories. They talk about failures in relationships and how that has changed them. What jumps out at me is this particular part of the song where one of them comments that he/she would like to go back and change the other person’s past:

I would love to fix it all for you,
I would love to fix you, too
Please don’t fix a thing whatever you do
These bruises make for better conversation…

Even though their pasts are painful, those experiences have shaped who they are as people. While the song doesn’t provide any hope that God can make good things come out of our bad experiences, it does point to the fact that we are shaped by what we go through. Both good and bad experiences, trials and triumphs, impact the people we become. While I think God wants to redeem our past and use them for His purposes, I think Train is on to something in their song.

Plus, it’s kind of a catchy tune.

Apps Gone Bad

facebookKind of ironic to me that literally 10 minutes or so after I posted about Guardrails, I saw a tweet with a link to an article about a new App on Facebook.

The App is called “Bang With Friends” and yes, it is what it sounds like. Here is a description of how it works (please excuse the crude way it describes what was intended to be an intimate act between a husband and wife:

“You install the app, then the app lists your Facebook friends of the opposite sex. You click if you’d like to “bang” them, and no one ever knows . . . that is, unless one of those friends installed the app and elected to bang you, too. Bang With Friends makes finding a mate as easy as window shopping on Pinterest.”

Here’s a link to the entire article where a gentleman (with his wife’s permission) tested the app.

So, if you were ever wondering if guardrails were important, just look at this app. Wow!

Teens and Changing Technology

Technology is in a constant state of change. The latest buzz has been about the unveiling of the iPhone 5. I saw a tweet today that said the Apple store is off-line as they update their stock. (It is off-line….I checked!) If you feel like you just can’t keep, welcome to the club.

In light of that, I thought a post on Doug Field’s blog was timely and informative.  In this entry. he talks with Jonathan McKee, a youth worker, speaker and author.  They discussed the changes in technology and social media and specifically how teens are using these various outlets.

Here’s a few of the questions and answers.  Thought their thoughts on texting and Twitter were interesting and worth watching.

DOUGI’m almost afraid to post something about technology, because it might be out of date by the time I hit POST. In your book The New Breed you talk about how much technology has shifted in the last 5 years alone. Give us a glimpse of some of these big changes.

JONATHAN: It’s even scarier talking about technology in a book, in fear that it will be out of date by the time the book goes to print. When the first edition of this book came out five years ago (which really isn’t too long ago), MySpace was still a social network contender. Now, most people chuckle when you mention the site (“It’s so three minutes ago!”). In the last 5 years…

MySpace has shriveled while Facebook has become the social networking powerhouse. As of the end of 2011, 93% of 12-17-year old social media users have Facebook pages, while only 24% have a MySpace.

Pinterest has proven to be a major player in the social networking scene, especially among women (I already have a page so I can see my daughter’s posts of her artwork).

•As texting and social networking grew, young people use email less. You know this if you’ve tried to email a kid—they don’t email back. Text them, you’ll get a response in 10 seconds.

Smartphone ownership crossed the 50% mark recently, with 55.5% of US subscribers now owning smartphones. 58% of 13-17-year olds now own a smart phone, compared to 36% last year, and 74% of 25-34 year-olds own smartphones, up from 59% last year (NielsenWire, 9/10/12). This increase has obviously boosted mobile browsing to new levels

•The time people spend on apps per day finally surpassed traditional web browsing. (TechCrunch)

DOUGSo, I hate being asked about the future, but I’ll ask you–what do you think is next?

JONATHAN: Wow, you’re asking me to go on a limb here. I usually don’t like to predict the future as much as provide a glimpse of what is current. I’ll push the envelope here a little bit and give two predictions based on recent changes:

Texting has hit its peak. I’m not saying that texting is dying… I don’t think it’s going anywhere. It’s simple, quick, easy… and fun. But Nielson’s teenage texting numbers actual dropped a notch in the third quarter of 2011 for the first time in years! Personally, I think this is because of the rise of smart-phone ownership, mentioned above. More young people can Facebook each other or Tweet. I think these alternatives will trim the edge off of texting. Texting will stay strong… but I think we’ve seen its peak.

Twitter is on the rise. In the past year I chuckled when people mentioned Twitter and Facebook in the same sentence. Over 90% of teenagers are on Facebook, and at last count, about 16% of online teenagers were on Twitter  (and 95% of American teenagers are online). But watch closely… that Twitter number is growing. Why? Young people are still TV addicts and they can only watch people like Howie Mandel on their favorite shows Tweeting their fans so many times before they think, “I’ve gotta get me that!!”

Viral – book review

I’ve had the opportunity to hear Leonard Sweet speak on one or two occasions and have read some of his other writings.  I like his insights and how he sees how the church can impact culture.  I also find myself having to read a paragraph a couple of times to really grasp what it is he is trying to say.  While he is a student of culture, he also brings his love for history and poetry into his writing.  He definitely challenges your thinking.

In Viral, he draws a distinction between two groups of people.  One groups he called “Googlers.” Sweet sees them as natives to the culture of social media. The other group he calls “Gutenbergers,” meaning those who grew up in the culture of the printed word. I found it slightly ironic that his message about a more digital form of media arrived to me in printed (paperback) form.  I think it shows the continued tension that exists as part of our culture has embraced the digital while others cling to printed text.

Sweet uses this acronym in his book:  TGIF.  It doesn’t refer to the well-known phrase many use as they anticipate the weekend.  Instead, he gives it new meaning to highlight the growth of social networking:  Twitter, Google, iPhone, Facebook. In his book, he explains the impact of each of these on our culture.

One of the big distinctions Sweet points to about the Googler versus Gutenberger culture is the idea of connection.  Those who have embraced social media in its many forms are about connecting with others.  While some in the Gutenberger camp see the connections as superficial, for the Googler, they are relational connections.

Sweet encourages the church to take advantage of the desire for connection.  Throughout Viral Sweet looks at ways the church and individual Christ followers can make use of social media to advance the message of Jesus.

Viral would be a good read for both the Googler and Gutenberger.  Social media has and will continue to impact our culture.  Our response will be how we chose to make use of it.