Book Review: The New Media Frontier
Am I exaggerating? Maybe. After all, there are plenty of people who have never seen a blog. Many people give you a blank stare if you ask them what a “blogger” is. But there is no doubt that the way we obtain information in this Internet age is changing, and the blogosphere is a big part of that information revolution.
Blogging has democratized the way we access information. It has also democratized the way we publish information.
The New Media Frontier: Blogging, Vlogging, and Podcasting for Christ (Crossway, 2008) illuminates the promises and pitfalls of engaging in this new media. Especially helpful is the Christian focus that this book brings to blogging.
John Mark Reynolds starts off the book by describing the difference between “live” and “preserved” discourse. He shows how the world has moved from “live” performance to “preserved” performance. Now this pendulum is swinging back towards “live” performance. Maintaing the balance between instant communication and preserved communicatio is of the utmost importance.
An interesting phenomena that Reynolds does not address: ”live” performance sometimes leads to “preserved” performance. Take American Idol for example - direct performances (“live”) that (hopefully) lead to recording contracts (“preserved”). Or the success of bloggers (“live”) who wound up writing “preserved” discourse for this book!
Matthew Lee Anderson warns us about the blogosphere. He sees a number of deficiencies in online communication and so he points out some dangers that should be avoided. Of primary concern is the way that connecting online is inferior than connecting face to face. Likewise, the emphasis in blogging is on posting and publishing. You cannot simply “be” an online presence. He worries that our souls might become shallow and that we might mistakenly assume we can and should control how we present ourselves to the world.
Because this book comes from a variety of bloggers, it contains a wide variety of insights.
- Technical advice on starting a podcast? See the “Beginner’s Toolbox” on podcasting.
- Want to start a blog? Make sure you read Joe Carter’s terrific chapter before you begin.
- Are you a pastor wanting to facilitate more discussion with your congregation? Then see Mark D. Roberts’ chapter (and his blog) for a great model of how it can be done.
- Thanks to Rhett Smith’s chapter on youth ministry, I have now opened a FaceBook account. Otherwise, according to Rhett, I might be unintentionally telling the 20somethings in my Sunday School class that I do not care about their online life.
Blogging is changing how pastors relate to their people, how people engage in apologetics for Christian truth, how classrooms and ”the academy” relate to one another. The New Media Frontier is a must-have book for all those interested in the current revolution in media intake and output. Get this book. And then get to work glorifying Christ on your blog.