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Thursday, March 8, 2007

Video-sharing to promote Unitarian Universalism.

I'm pleased to see the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley, which invested early in podcasting, also leading the way in using popular video-sharing tools to tell the church's story. The congregation has started using YouTube, the social-networking video site, to host a welcome message from the ministers (featured on the front page of the church's site) and selected worship services. The videos are here on the church site, and here on YouTube. Here's the welcome message:

The Berkeley church isn't the first to make videorecordings of its services, nor is it the first to offer video on its own site. But what strikes me as important and promising is that the church is making good video content so explicitly for visitors — especially by using a service that allows viewers to recommend the videos to their friends and post them on their own blogs, like I've just done.

Two questions: Wouldn't it be great if some of the clever people who have successfully launched podcasts or video-sharing for their UU congregations set up topical blogs to promote the technology and teach other congregations how to use it, too? UU podcasters have a Google group, and they've assembled some basic how-tos on their website, but email lists — even relatively easy-to-search ones like a Google group — strike me as unhelpfully walled off from the way most people search for information these days. (They offer no public search results, no public archive, and no RSS, for example.) Maybe I'm pining for the advent of a dedicated podcasting evangelist — and a dedicated UU video-sharing evangelist.

Second: Are there ambitious and talented UU ministers who are ready to try video-blogging as an evangelism tool, like this amazingly talented and entertaining Episcopal priest?

Copyright © 2007 by Philocrites | Posted 8 March 2007 at 9:53 PM

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3 comments:

Shelby Meyerhoff:

March 9, 2007 10:31 AM | Permalink for this comment

Philocrites, I'm so glad you brought this up. There is a huge need for UU evangelists who can use media effectively. Let's encourage more than one person to take this step, and promote laypeople as well as ministers.

I'm planning to move into podcasting and videocasting soon, and am reaching out to newcomers through the website Looking for Faith. Peter Bowden is also very interested in promoting Unitarian Universalism through the use of new media. His site is UUPlanet. I imagine there are many others who are capable and interested in this work.

As you pointed out, we need to move into producing text, audio and video geared specifically towards newcomers using the internet. Many UU leaders posting are full-length sermons (the text and/or the audio file) on church websites. These materials are helpful to people who are patient and happen to be on the church website. But we can be more effective by producing material that is shorter and easier-to-access. And we can do this while still preserving our message of a liberal, welcoming faith.

Philocrites:

March 10, 2007 11:36 AM | Permalink for this comment

Dan Harper whips up a short intro to his church in New Bedford, Mass. Contrarian that he is, he hates YouTube and opts for Blip.tv. Note to Dan: Go where the people are. Post your clip to all the video social-networking sites. Don't ignore the major network just because you're full of indie goodness.

Here's a fairly comprehensive review of the ten best video-sharing sites from telecom industry journal Light Reading. Blip.tv ranks first in ease of use for filmmakers, but YouTube's audience is orders of magnitude larger. The video for the UU church in Second Life was distributed using Metacafe, which doesn't appear on the Light Reading top-ten list.

Philocrites:

March 21, 2007 05:07 PM | Permalink for this comment

Starr King School for the Ministry has launched a promotional film at the school's new MySpace page and at YouTube. Unfortunately, it will put you to sleep more effectively than PBS's most geriatric programming. Can't we be engaged in "the countering of oppression" in a more animated and exciting way? Two thumbs down.



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