A few recent conversations have me thinking a good bit about age and multiple languages, and how mobile addresses but also adds questions.
The first is that of the iPad and learning. I was approached by an older woman who wanted to ask and observe me on my iPad for a bit. This has been happening more recently as I’ve been drawing in public spaces. Nevertheless, she asked me about the iPad, what I use it for, and then wanted to see me in use with it. One of the things that caught me off guard was when she remarked that in going to the Apple Store, that there was too much noise and activity there for her to concentrate on the product(s) she wanted to know more about.
That leads me to this question: while we are used to a stadium-sermon approach for many aspects of teaching, would it be better to offer bite-sized aspects of content from church/ministry websites instead of entire sermons. Giving folks something more personalized, and maybe even having some kind of small group around that content that allows people to ask questions of that “shortened” content?
The second situation has to do with a friend of a friend who is an evangelist specifically to Spanish-speaking and Latin/South American nations. We were being introduced to one another and he wanted to throw against my mind something that he has been thinking about in respect to making certain types of content available to the thousands of pastors that he’s connected with. Amongst the many questions that I had, I again came back to this thought of concentrating on what people wanted – if you will, not filling the channel with the junk that people go for because its there, but with what they need.
Which led me to thinking about the way that we consume and approach media from different backgrounds. With the first situation, I could reference my context and speak to that woman basked on what I could assume (from a few factors). With the second, I had to ask more questions, many of them which he could not answer because he’s more or less designed to go to where he’s sent, not really to know the specific demographics of whom he effects.
With these, I am usually asked around the technical side of things: “what can we build to get this audience to do ‘something’?” And yet, the question isn’t really a technical one, its really a sociological one – and one where I am balancing what I know and what questions it is that can be answered. Believe it or not, its much easier for me to ask these questions than to solve the technical issues – however its always harder to get answers to those questions which speak to what exactly needs to be addressed.
Framing this into mobile…
Many media engagements are at the point now where they are saying with little to no hesitation, “if we are going to do this, then we need to go mobile.” Which is good. You are making an effort to think about and address the personal nature of some kind of content production. However, in “going mobile” are you asking – and therefore answering – the right questions as it relates to what needs to be addressed? Or, are you merely looking at mobile as the technical answer to your channel-filling needs? Because there’s a lot more to the channel than the type of pipe and faucet. There’s someone on the other end that has a reference and a need to be touched with some aspect of the Gospel. Are you answering that?