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Most of you who follow this blog do it by feed reader.  If you get me on a feed reader, you may not know about some of the new tools I’m using.   I’m finding them useful:

  1. TwitterEd Stetzer evangelized me to Twitter at NOC2008.  Twitter is micro-blogging with a max of 140 characters per post.  That’s characters, not words.  Short and sweet.  Or silly.  Or stupid.  But, short.  But, you ask, how can I “follow” all those “tweets?” The answer is, You can’t.  But, you can search terms from “chuck warnock to “small church” to “happy pastors.” Subscribe to the feed for those and other terms, then anytime someone tweets those phrases you get it.  Helps you sort out the noise from the helpful info.  Plus, the people who follow you are doing the same thing.  Anyway, check it out.  Oh, and follow me here.
  2. Brightkit.  This is a brand-new app that lets you schedule your Twitter posts (I have a real hard time typing ‘tweets’).  Just opened this past weekend, and you can get in on it free!  I just discovered Brightkit, and it will make Twittering much more useful.
  3. Ping.fm.  Ping.fm allows you to post to your Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Plaxo, blog, and other social networking sites from one entry.  Amazing, but true.  Saves lots of time.
  4. Facebook.  Okay, this is not new, but I am just now getting the hang of this.  If you’re not on Facebook, you need to be.  It’s fun and useful.  My wife, Debbie, started a Facebook group called Goodthoughts to do good deeds each day — 49 people signed up the first day!  I had some real problems with the fake ‘friend’ thing at first, but the jargon is what it is.  I order a grande soy latte wherever I go now, and I learned it from Starbucks.  I’m learning ‘friend’ on Facebook doesn’t mean best-buds, but on-line connection.  So, ‘friend’ me here at my Facebook page.
  5. Blackberry.  Okay, I already mentioned this, but I had no idea!  The internet (sort of) in your pocket.  Mobile is coming on strong.  Nokia just premiered their new N97, touting it as a mobile internet device.  Asia is light-years ahead of the US, and mobile everything is there now.  Get ready and get into it now because mobile is how all this social networking stuff will be done — on the fly, not at a desk or with a lappy.
  6. Mobilesitegalore.com provides a template-based mobile site design service for free!  They’ll even provide the domain name, and host it for you.  I’ll announce the mobile version of this blog for the New Year, so watch for it coming to a mobile device near you.

Does all this take a lot of time.  Yes and no.  I consider it networking time, not wasted time, but it does take some time.  You may not want to take on all the social networking tools, but experiment with at least one of them.  I’m convinced that this is the wave of the future, even for church networks.

If you’re using social networking, tell us how you’re doing it, and what benefit you get.  I’m putting together an article on how social networking can be used with small churches and I’d like to hear from you.  Thanks.