Adopting an Open Media Platform

by Phil Cooke

In my new book, “The Last TV Evangelist: Why the Next Generation Couldn’t Care Less About Religious Media … and Why It Matters,” I present the case that the digital media revolution is far more than just having a Facebook page, watching comedy clips on mobile phones or text messaging. The fundamental transformation that will impact everything in the future is the word “open.” “Open” will have massive implications for culture, politics, education, business and religion. It will cause a massive shift in the way we find, process and relate to information, and its impact will spill over into relationships, church, family structures and more.

If we, as ministry leaders, don’t understand and respond to this change, our impact will eventually disappear. Let me explain it this way:

Here’s the difference in the closed media world of the past and the open media world of the future:

  • Closed: A church or nonprofit decided how to talk to its donors.
  • Open: Donors decide how to talk to organizations.
  • Closed: People watched or listened to what you wanted them to see or hear.
  • Open: The audience is in charge.
  • Closed: Political power was the method of choice for impacting culture.
  • Open: Cultural engagement is the way to impact the culture.
  • Closed: Famous pastors and evangelists were celebrities.
  • Open: Personality-driven ministry will decrease.
  • Closed: Christian leaders could control information.
  • Open: In the digital age, information can’t be controlled.
  • Closed: TV was the hub of marketing and advertising campaigns.
  • Open: TV has become TIVO – we skip commercials.
  • Closed: Programmers controlled the message.
  • Open: The audience influences the message.
  • Closed: Consumers bought what marketers promoted.
  • Open: Consumers buy what their friends endorse.
  • Closed: YouTube and Facebook were fads.
  • Open: YouTube’s content is as good as traditional advertising.
  • Closed: Mobile phones were for making calls.
  • Open: Mobile phones are now the single most important gadget in people’s lives.
  • Closed: Bloggers were a little nutty.
  • Open: Bloggers are the new influencers and truth-tellers. They even cost a national network news anchor his job.
  • Closed: Pastors want to be on a major Christian radio or TV network.
  • Open: With IPTV (Internet Protocol Television), social networking, podcasting, mobile programming and more, the traditional networks will continue to exist, but won’t be the only key to reaching your audience.

Think of a world that’s experiencing a two-way conversation instead of the traditional one-way model. …


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