Lately it seems that some prominently visible televangelists have not gotten the social media memo: “Yo, you cannot behave as if nothing has changed!” The social dynamics have crossed over into new territory. We have got to be able to navigate this territory effectively. And, it requires new skills and a whole new set of knowledge paddles.
We see the effect that having a digital camera on every cellphone has had on our sociocultural society at large: during the Arab Spring, the police and excess brutality, celebs and public tirades and many other questionable antics by Christian leaders. No one is exempt. Privacy is no longer guaranteed. As a result everyone including televangelists have to be extremely careful in their delivery as the audience has expanded to a wider demographic armed with the ability to record audio and video. That audience may not be sympathetic to what you do or what you’re saying. They may be downright hostile to your message.
Therefore preacher be forewarned: you are being watched purposely. Anything you say or do publicly, (whether great or stupid) can be possibly used against you in the new court of public scrutinous media. Our current social media unhinged culture is charged and on edge with waiting media vultures to pick your story apart.
If what you say or do is diametrically out of sync with popular culture, and it is recorded. It will appear on Youtube, Google+, Facebook or Twitter…with rabid comments nonetheless.
Let’s face it. We are at war. Recently, a famous televangelist went on the Internet to promote his cause of raising $300.00 from 200,000 supporters for the purchase of a 65 million dollar GulfStream private jet. There is a problem and an inherent mistake here.
The problem is this preacher is not fully aware of what it takes to effectively navigate the new social media waters of the Internet. Things, any video thing that is outside of the rational thinking of an incredibly diverse, viral sensitive online audience will immediately implode into the ether-sphere. Then it will appear on YouTube, Facebook and other social media sharing spaces… in that order.
The mistake this preacher made was huge. Firstly, he got the memo but he misread it. Yes! You can raise money via crowd funding but not for a $65 million GulfStream jet for perceived and justified purposes. In this culture where crowd funding is not anonymous but ubiquitously popular, he should have kept his request to a select few relationally connected donors. Millenials do not take too kindly to extravagance. There are other preachers whose organizations own private jets but no one would ever know. They move quietly and subtly among us doing the work of the kingdom: feeding the poor, responding to war and natural disasters in impoverished nations, building and restoring homes, providing clean drinking water and other important social good.
I know them. I support them. The pendulum has swung and it is rapidly moving in one direction… change.