While the church is busy adapting to the emerging wired culture, have you ever wondered what this wired culture of ours is going to look like in another decade? Given it could take churches a decade to adapt, you've gotta ask, what should churches be adapting to? To the world as it is now? Or to the world as it will be by the time we get there? It seems to me that focussing on the now will guarantee you'll be left behind. So here's a few articles to stir the pot:
Wireless Social Networking To Generate $2.5 Trillion By 2020 According to this article, electronic marketing research company iSuppli has predicted wireless social networking products, services, applications, components, and advertising will generate more than $2.5 trillion in revenue by 2020, stating that companies that can't keep up could become irrelevant (and one must ask about churches too eh?). iSuppli analyzed social networking and found three levels of interaction for users: immediate family and close friends, extended friends, and shared interest groups (sound familiar?). iSuppli predicted wireless devices are likely to become the primary means of communicating, accessing content, and using applications by 2018. (can a church ignore the primary means of communicating?)
Social Networking More Popular Than Email "Stats from Nielsen Online show that by the end of 2008, social networking had overtaken email in terms of worldwide reach. According to the study, 66.8% of Internet users across the globe accessed 'member communities' last year, compared to 65.1% for email. The most popular online activities remain search and Web portals (with around 85% reach) and the websites of software manufacturers ... As has been reported elsewhere, Facebook’s fastest growth demographic is older users" (so, it's not just a young persons game anymore)
The future of social networks "If we are here in ten years talking about profiles, web sites or social networks, something is really wrong. Social networks will be woven into every product and thing we touch"
I Saw The Future Of Social Networking The Other Day "Imagine walking into a meeting, classroom, party, bar, subway station, airplane, etc. and seeing profile information about other people in the area, depending on privacy settings." (And no doubt these profiles will include religious preferences and other information)
The Future of the Social Web: In Five Eras "Expect the Groundswell to continue, in which people connect to each other – rather than institutions"
It's this last comment that I find particularly pertinent. It has implications for all institutions. And some of the suggestions it lists for companies could be equally thought provoking for churches, even should they choose not to follow blindly. So, where from there?