This Article is printed in the September 2011 edition of the Adventist Messenger.
It started when word got out that the Japanese government was planning a huge science experiment that involved killing 50 humpback whales in the Southern Ocean, studying them and then selling their meat. When Greenpeace heard about this, they were irate and decided to hold a poll to name a specific humpback whale and raise awareness of this predicament.
Social media giants such as Digg, Reddit and Facebook got hold of this story and started promoting it on their websites, which literally spread the news from one end of the globe to the other. In turn traditional news agencies started airing the story on local TV stations worldwide. People responded to the Greenpeace name poll, and after receiving over 150,000 responses, the name “Mister Splashy Pants” was the winner.
The slogan, “Save Mister Splashy Pants” rang out as people displayed signs and logos, wore printed t-shirts and created website flash videos that put a face to the name and created a very famous whale.
The worldwide publicity regarding the future for “Mister Splashy Pants” got the attention of the Japanese government and they decided to scrap their previous plans, which in turn allowed for the safe journey of “Mister Splashy Pants” and his friends across the Ocean.
What a great story and one that demonstrates the power of the internet.
A quick search on Google will confirm my previous prediction about the Internet and reveal that you and I and approximately 2 billion other people have caught on. Even more, experts are predicting approximately 3 to 4 billion active Internet users worldwide in 2 to 3 more years.
Did you know that approximately 80% of the population in Canada and the United States are active users of the Internet? We have gotten so use to the always connected, always available attributes of the Internet that it has become an extension of our brains. More and more people are experiencing what I call Internet Withdrawal Anxiety when they are not able to connect online.
I want to share with you a quotation I found recently, “”More of us are using the web regularly, most especially the over-45 set. Email is far from dead, and the top search on-line is for health info…” May 2010, Professor Matrix (Queen’s University, Ontario).
It’s interesting that the above statement mentions the top internet search being health related information. People want to know how to live healthier live styles – how to eat healthier, how to live longer – and they are going to the Internet to find answers to their questions. Do you have a health related ministry in your church? If so, is that information on a website so it can be found by those searching in your local community?
Let me tell you a well-known fact; if your church or ministry does not have an active, up to date website, to the rest of the world it is as if you don’t exist. That’s the digital mobile reality we live in. No other option to get off the digital train; in fact, it is not going to be slowing down anytime soon, so we must make the best of it.
I am reminded of a bible text that says, 1 Chronicles 12:32 that says, “from Issachar, men who understood the times and know what Israel should do…” I think this bible text is very relevant to us today because the more we can understand about the digital reality we live in, the more effective we can be today and the more prepared we are for the future.
There are many reasons for an internet ministry in your local church, and next month I will share with you, from a conversation I had with Lonny Nelson, support staff for ACC, some useful tips on how to start an effective internet ministry and some online tools for connecting with your local community. For past articles, check out my website, http://www.mcquesview.com.