Social networking is a reality that is here to stay. It’s increasingly not a matter of if you’re going to join a network, but which one(s)? MySpace and Facebook are well-established as general interest networks built around sharing personal information in minute details. The explosive growth of Twitter in the last year has opened the door for people to effectively target “followers” with similar interests and share content. Any of these sites, though, have plenty of content that could be viewed as objectionable by many Christians. Open discussions, posts and groups, for example, discussing sexuality in a multitude of topics with profane language are easy to find. And while networks generally are aware of trying to keep minors away from such discussions, the networks are simply too vast to patrol all the possible avenues. However, there are alternatives. A growing number of Christian social networks are springing up with, generally speaking, a greater commitment to trying to keep discussions focused on faith and at least a greater degree of civility. If you don’t see your favorite Christian social network listed here, let us know. We’ll be keeping a running list of reader’s preferences and suggestions. ShoutLife On its “About Us” page, ShoutLife touts editing filters which screens out vulgar language to create a “family-friendly” atmosphere. All text posts, videos and pictures are screened for adult-level content before being posted. ShoutLife offers forums for writers, comedians and musicians to get traffic to their products and develop an audience. Christian artists are found frequently and with great diversity throughout the site. Link: http://www.shoutlife.com/ Cross.tv European-based Cross.tv states its goal as linking Christians across the globe. It promotes its use of language translators to build multi-cultural bridges. It claims to host over 20 languages and having users in over 100 countries. It also boasts content managers who strictly watch language and video posts to adhere to what it terms as “Christian moral standards.” Similar to ShoutLife’s setup, there are five different channels to choose from in churches, organizations, artists, groups and families, and individuals. There are about 245,000 users on Cross.tv. Link: http://www.cross.tv/ Tangle Formerly known as GodTube, Tangle is billed primarily as a Christian alternative to YouTube. Blogs and ministry outreaches are also part of the site. Audio, prayer walls and cause invitations – a popular Facebook feature – are also included. The site features organizational breakdowns for churches, ministries and musicians to connect and share content and information. Link: http://www.tangle.com/ MyChurch MyChurch, as the name indicates, is directed as a platform for individual churches to get their message across. It features the ability to post audio and video of sermons, event calendars and prayer requests. It allows individual members to blog and share stories, including sharing items for sale and purchase through a classifieds feature. Individual church members can be moderators. The site is free, although upgraded accounts can be purchased for enhanced access at $25 or $100 a month. The site boasts about 35,000 churches and 307,000 blogs. Link: http://www.mychurch.org/
Published June 10th, 2009 by Peter Elliott
Christian social networks finding online niches
Peter Elliott is a veteran news and sports journalist. He enjoys interviewing others about how God works in their lives and sharing that with readers. He is also a lifelong, long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan. He resides in Indianapolis with his wife and three sons.
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