Who Invented Social Media? God Did.

The Creation of Adam
Michaelangelo understood the personal and relational nature of God’s initial acts of creation. photo: Wikimedia Commons

God invented social media. I know that might sound like a crazy claim, but I have a biblical basis for believing this. So I’m primarily speaking to those who believe with me that God is the creator presented to us in the biblical book of Genesis.

Social media seems like a new term. Many people are just hearing it, and many others are already tired of it. It’s a trend, a fad, something that people are jumping on quickly for reasons ranging from connecting to old friends to making millions of dollars. When I say it’s a fad, I am referring to the term”social media” not to the actual concept of it.

Let’s break it down this way. The word media really just refers to information. Facts. Things that are true, or at least things that are thought to be true. Social is a word we used to refer to interactions between human beings – otherwise known as relationships. Putting it together, social media simply refers to the sharing of information through relationships.

There was a time in history when the only way information was shared was by conversation between people. And even after information began to be written down, writings were still shared from person to person through real, human relationships. Even in the garden of Eden, god communicated directly with Adam and Eve in a family-like relationship. He told them what they needed to know (media) in a direct personal way (social). In other words, God invented social media.


Why does that matter? Why is it so important to realize God is the inventor of this newfangled fad? I believe it matters because the church has struggled to adopt social media on the grounds that it is something new, something scary. We have actually come to believe that mass, impersonal media is the best way to share the story of God with other people. We see social media as an add-on, a toy, and something for teenagers to dabble in and grandparents to see pics of their grandkids.

But social media is more. Social media is where we came from. And it’s definitely where we’re heading, quickly. It is my passionate conviction that social media (as I’ve defined it above) has always been God’s preferred method for communicating truth about Himself that has driven me not only to engage in it heavily myself, but to write a book about it. Are there cautions? Of course, as there are with any other medium of communication. But the cautions shouldn’t stop us from engaging in the conversation that is happening with or without us, all around us.

John Piper once challenged a fellow Pastor to begin using Twitter in order to “fill every space with the glory of God, including the online space.” I’m with Piper. If you’re with me, share this post somewhere or connect with me. Also consider buying my new book, Rewired, which is all about how using today’s technology can bring you back to deeper relationships, real conversations, and powerful ways to share God’s love.

If you think I’m wrong, or crazy, or right, or dumb, or anywhere in between, tell me about it in the comments!

Small Groups With Purpose: How to Create Healthy Communities

Small Groups With Purpose: How To Create Healthy CommunitiesThere are, in every industry, certain books that serve as cornerstones – manuals of the trade, if you will. If you want to fix a car, you buy a Chilton’s Guide. If you’re working in any psychology-related field, you need a DSM-IV manual. And if you’re in small group ministry, ministry leadership, or you simply want your own small group to thrive, you need to have the new industry standard manual, Small Groups with Purpose: How to Create Healthy Communities.

Steve Gladen, Pastor of Small Groups and Spiritual Maturity at Saddleback Church since 1998, has just released the very book I’ve been hoping for. He addresses the biblical foundations of community, group life, discipleship, and how small groups relate to the larger church context. According to Gladen, “A healthy small group is a community of people who challenge each other to become all that God destined them to become.” That is certainly the goal, but as Steve points out, “unless you know what the target is, you can’t hit it.”

But this book doesn’t stop with the foundation, Steve continues onward to help any church leader build an entire small group ministry. He presents the spiritual growth assessment tools and paradigm graphics that have shaped Saddleback’s small group ministry to number well over 4,500 groups and 30,000 people. He covers the five purposes and demonstrates how each can be woven into the fabric of small group life.

Good books answer good questions, anticipating the needs of the reader in advance. Steve devotes the latter part of his book to doing just that. Should you use Sunday School or small groups? How can you recruit more group hosts? What do you do with kids? How do you practice the purpose of worship in the setting of a small group? These are the kinds of questions I’ve asked repeatedly and answers are sometimes tough to find. Steve Gladen provides them and answers many more pertinent questions as well.

Small Groups with Purpose is written by the industry’s thought leader on the subject, but it’s written for leaders at every level. I would put in at the top of my list of “must have” resources for beginning group leaders, Pastors, and everyone in between who is or hopes to be involved in small group ministry. Now that it’s on the market, it’s indispensable. Get it. Read it. Mark it up, and apply it so that you can begin creating healthy communities today!

Grab a Copy

Jolt! by Phil Cooke. Make Change Work For You

Jolt! Get the Jump On a World That's Constantly ChangingChange is guaranteed to be consistent. Our personal growth is not.

I first met Phil Cooke at a conference at Prestonwood Baptist Church a few years ago where he signed a copy of another of his books for me – Branding Faith. Listening to Phil speak to our breakout session about media and branding fed my hunger to know how to communicate more effectively. Phil has a knack for such tough subjects.

In his latest work, Jolt!: Get the Jump on a World That’s Constantly Changing, Phil spends a chapter detailing with a barrage of data the alarming rate of change going on around us. If the reader stops at the end of chapter one, things will get rather tough emotionally as our heads continue to spin, bewildered by the sheer momentum of the changing of our culture, which spirals out of control continually. But Phil doesn’t stop there. In fact, the data is just the introduction.

Jolt! is a manual for navigating the turbulent waters of change as well as a challenge to embrace change and grow through it. Phil talks about his own experience of “hitting a wall” and being forced into pursuing his big dream. Had sudden and abrupt change not entered the equation (in the form of losing his steady job), Phil never would have stepped out in faith and chased the bigger goal God had for him.

The same is true of many of us. Fear of change (or fear of the unknown future) paralyzes us and causes our growth to stunt – unless we fight that freezing tendency and run straight into the change, using it to our advantage at every possible turn.

This is not just a book for leaders or even believers – it’s a book for everyone who lives in our hectic, high-priced, recession-challenged climate of unending change. It’s a book for everyone who wants to get a positive grip on change once and for all!

Get It On Amazon

My Interview Question to Dennis Quaid

Yesterday was a cool day in Los Angeles for me. For my wife, it was cool, mixed with managing a very active almost-one-year-old at a small outdoor shopping mall in 90 degree weather for a few hours while I was off in Hollywood attending a press junket for the Soul Surfer movie.

I was invited to represent Pastors.com since the press has brought a lot of attention to the faith-related elements of the film, and I’ll be posting on the site shortly about that very thing.

I sat in a hotel room around a table with five other reporters from various showbiz media outlets and spent twenty minutes doing group interviews with Dennis Quaid, AnnaSophia Robb, Bethany Hamilton, Rob McNamara, and Lorraine Nicholson. Because I was completely new to the experience and was surrounded by experienced Hollywood reporters, I kept mostly quiet, but I did want to ask Dennis Quaid one single question. Here’s the audio…

[audio:http://brandonacox.com/wp-content/uploads/My-Question-to-Dennis-Quaid.mp3|titles=My Question to Dennis Quaid]

Continue reading My Interview Question to Dennis Quaid

Phil Cooke On the Biggest Mistakes Christians Make in the Media

This is an article that Pastors and anyone in the field of Church Communications needs to read and bookmark for later research. It’s the short version of a talk that Phil gave at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. Phil was instrumental in sparking a huge interest in me in the realm of media and communications when I met him at a conference at Prestonwood Church in Plano a few years ago.

Here are Phil’s main points, but you need to click through and read his comments…

Continue reading Phil Cooke On the Biggest Mistakes Christians Make in the Media

7 Tips for Making Your Podcasts Shine

Ipod PodcastKnow Your Competition

Are there a large number of other people Podcasting about the same subject matter as you? You should be aware of your competition’s websites and their Podcasting topics. Try to offer something different. Offer your customers something that is relevant, interesting and unique or that puts a unique spin on a familiar topic. Use Podcasting directories to find out who your competitors are.

Who Are Your Listeners?

Research your target audience. Podcasting is still a niche market, but is growing rapidly with the popularity of portable media devices such as the iPod. The average subscribers to Podcasts are educated, employed, well traveled, and looking for interesting content. The average Podcast subscriber is around the age of thirty. However the market is expanding exponentially to the less than 18 and over 50 demographic as potable media becomes more affordable to the masses.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a key marketing technique for the Web. It is the process of writing or editing the content to include key words people might use when searching for a product, service, idea, or entertainment. How do you optimize your Podcast? Write transcripts. Before sitting down and writing your Podcast script use a service like KeyWord Tracker, which helps you improve your ranking in search results. Once you have a list of the top keyword searches for your topic write them into your script and publish it as a transcript along with your Podcast. Including a transcript of your Podcast will attract more visitors to your site then a Podcast alone with a brief header.

Content Creation

There are two reasons people listen to Podcasts, to learn or to be entertained. Podcasting is not the time to use your best sales pitch. Over selling your topic to people in your Podcast is a sure-fire way to send their business elsewhere. People are looking for fun, entertaining, and informative information – for free. If people are visiting your website to listen to your Podcasts you have already accomplished one step in the selling process, building relationships with the public. Once they have listened to your Podcasts they will likely go to your website to check out your products or services because they feel connected to a familiar voice that represents your company persona.

egularly Scheduled Episodes

Your listeners will expect a regular schedule for when they can ‘tune-in’ to your Podcasts. Depending on your business and how much content you can create you may want to Podcast anywhere from daily to once per week. Make sure you can deliver when you say you can. You might have other responsibilities in your organization so keep a realistic time line. When you hire a voice over actor for your Podcast you will ensure regular episodes are done on-time, on budget, and with no interruption in your personal or work schedule.

Spread the Word

Once you have your Podcast recorded and uploaded to your website it’s time to get the word out. If you already have a customer base registered to your website consider emailing them about your websites new feature. There are numerous directories to submit your Podcasts to. Try www.podcast411.com for a list of directories. You may also want to use social networking sites such as Facebook, Digg, and Stumble Upon to promote your Podcast and grow your listener base. You can also write and distribute articles and press releases about your Podcast to help you spread the word.

RSS Feeds

Make sure you include an RSS Feed and an ‘Email to a Friend’ option for your Podcasts. The RSS Feed allows you to syndicate your Podcasts making it easy for your audience to listen with automatic delivery to their portable media devices or personal computers. Adding the ‘Email to a Friend’ option allows your current audience to spread the word to others who they feel might be interested in your topic, ultimately growing your listener base.

photo source

Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Vice President of Marketing and co-founder of Voices.com, the voice over marketplace. A vocal major and graduate from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario, Stephanie is able to translate years of classical music training, theory and performance into practical applications within the voice over industry. Specializing in public relation and copy writing, her presence and persona embody the Voices.com brand through partner sites likePodcastingVoiceTalent.com.

Niche Podcasting

An Illustrated History of Media Content

Nice plug for the Taptu mobile news aggregation app, but a pretty neat illustration nonetheless. I like how they move from imagery to distribution via print to broadcast via new technologies and finally back around to social news aggregation. Since the days of Adam and Eve, news has spread best through the crowd and through relationships. Now that the web is maturing, we’re figuring this ancient principle out again.

An Illustrated History of Content

Hat tips to The Next Web and Philip Sheldrake.