Here in the UK we are right in the middle of an election. Despite that fact that having to watch Political Party leaders driving around in black cars and kissing babies on TV is about as exciting as finding some gum stuck on the bottom of your shoe there are, as in any election, some big issues at stake.
The web can have a big influence on the way people vote and so I’m hoping that every online Christian is doing their best to get a good Christian viewpoint across. Christian viewpoints cut across political boundaries I find.
But how do we make sense of it all?
I’ve been hunting around to find the best election tools on the web and I’ve seen some pretty interesting stuff. I’ve enjoyed fiddling around with the bbc seat calculator to see how things are going and I’ve also been on to the Sky who I should vote for quiz and whilst it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know I thought it would probably be very useful for anyone who was undecided. There are many other good widgets and sites out there but I think you would get bored with reading about them.
Of course without the big budgets Christian web sites seem to have less exciting things going on but a few do have sections on the election. The Evangelical Alliance site for instance has quite a big election part of their site.
After the Presendential elections in the USA it was felt by many that the web would change the way elections are run. However, it seems that it is the Americans who use social networking sites for this kind of thing more than the British. Perhaps it is our more reserved nature that stops us from telling our friends how they should be voting in a tweet.
It seems that this time around it is probably the TV that is having the biggest impact with the excitement over the Leaders debates.
I found it interesting though to listen to a ‘person on the street’ moaning about how none of the politians seems willing to admit that we need to be making serious savings to pay off the national debt. I’m not sure what reports he has been watching but I would say that I have heard all of the politicians saying exactly that even before the election started. It reminds me that media is not just about what is said but also about how it is received.
It is one of the downsides of the web that there is just too much information to process.
I’ve been given some more links that might help though.
There is information on the CTBI site
Also at the Joint Public Issues site there is a briefing document in pdf format and a faith in politics pdf from CTBI
Is the web having any effect on the way you will be voting?
Apparently we are now spending more time looking at the web on our hand held devices than we do reading a newspaper or looking at magazines. According to some reasearch done by the European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA), the average European users will spend approximately 6.4 hours a week browsing the web from a mobile device. In contrast, they will only spend 4.8 hours reading a newspaper or 4.1 hours with a magazine.
Of course the research doesn’t tell us what people are looking at on their mobiles and it seems to be an advert for selling mobile advertising but the results are not really very surprising.
Here is the full story …
I have heard mobile fans declaring that the mobile will be THE way to browse the web in the future but I personally feel that the limitations of very small screens will never supplant the need for a computer with a nice big screen. I think there is a certain irony in the fact that just when computer screens have reached reasonable sizes there are some who want us to go to an ultra small screen instead. Does anyone else remember the days of 12 inch text only screens in green and white?
Are you getting ready for Internet Evangelism Day this year? It’s an excellent chance to focus your church on the possibilities and impacts of the Internet for Christians.
You can find out more about it here …
If nothing else then please take some time on the 25th April to pray for Christians on the web.
If you are a website designer could you offer to build some free church website templates? Of course you get an acknowledgment on this site and the chance to add your details to a text file in the set.
There are just a few rules and these are they:
1. The design must be simple – we are looking for designs that are easy on the eye but also simple to use so that they can be edited by whoever needs to edit them.
2. If there is a main image it should be easy to change – I’m very flexible on this one but most churches like to add their own picture to the template to personalise it and if the image is split up and interwoven into the design this makes it impossible.
3. Include a logo image – again the logo images needs to be easy to change. Use the main logo from a major denomination to start with and try to copy whatever colours the denomination generally uses (e.g. Purple for CofE, Red for Methodist, etc).
4. Make the colours easy to change if possible.
5. Make it easy to add content – for me this means using tables for layout because CSS layout can get confusing for novice users.
6. Create, as minimum standard, home page, about us page and contact page.
7. Once built include a simple text file called readme.txt that explains the template and how to make changes e.g. create new logo image and upload it to the site. Include your details in this file.
Always remember that these templates will be used by people who know nothing about websites. Most of them don’t understand html and will be wanting to edit their sites in free software. This makes it a big challenge to get done so whatever you can do to make life easier is always welcome.
If you do decide you would like to offer a free template then please contact me first (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can start the process. I reserve the right to refuse any free templates offered – sorry but I’ve seen some pretty bad ones and I only want to offer good quality.
I’ve added in a new directory system to replace the old one. I’ve had lots of problems with directories in the past so I’m hoping I’ve found a good solution.
Please add links to any good websites that you find about online Christian ministry.