We’ve talked before about the kind of content that appears online when you put in the search term ‘Google’, and I think , as we set up #digidisciple, that it would be good to look at what appears as we put in the term ‘Bible’ into various online platforms.
YouTube, created in 2005, is a video sharing website on which users can upload and share videos, and create themed playlists of favourite saved videos. In March 2008 it was estimated that it would take 412.3 years to view all YouTube content. Early last year, YouTube celebrated it’s 5th anniversary – yes, it’s very young, but SO embedded in our culture – and these visual stats demonstrate just how much, as the site had over 2 billion hits a day, with over 70% of those hits coming from outside the USA. A more up to date infographic (but by someone newer to the genre) indicates that the average user spends nearly 6 hours on the site.
The Bible on YouTube?
If you search ‘Bible’ in YouTube, you get the content illustrated above – what do you think of this content? There’s content by right-wing Christians, athiests, and the general tone is anti-Biblical, anti-Christian. How we do start to equip Christians to engage with this content, and to start to produce content that is of interest to others (and may even go viral), contributing to the world’s conversations, encouraging others to engage with the Bible?
If you want Christian specific content, you can of course try GodTube, which may offer some great resources for Christians (I haven’t spent much time on there, so I couldn’t say), but this is not seasoning the world with salt and light, but could be accused of being a Christian ghetto. How do we engage with what the world engages with… appropriately?
Commenting in YouTube
Most of these videos are of course open for public comment, but so many comments by “Christians” pour hellfire and brimstone upon those videos posted by those of a different worldview. How can we season such comments with grace, willing to enter into debate and conversation – for which we will need to be sure of our own thinking, or prepared to demonstrate our vulnerabilities … see Richard Littledale’s latest post re the digital space making him ‘transparent’ as he works to minister in a local setting.
So, if we’re looking to Jesus as our model for living, would Jesus have been on YouTube, what would he have uploaded, and what would he have commented?