Learning from Channel 9

Perhaps you saw Robert Scoble’s interview of Bill Gates on Microsoft’s Channel 9. I found the interview interesting, which isn’t surprising as I suspect I’d be interested in practically any interview of Bill Gates. But what struck me the most is the way Scoble and the team at Channel 9 are innovating the use of inexpensive video technology and blogging to get their message out in an anti-slick, human way.

What they’re doing on Channel 9 shows that all you need is a consumer digital camcorder and a streaming video server. The interview isn’t edited at all, just trimmed at the beginning and the end. They’ve succeeded in making Microsoft human and Bill Gates human (look closely and you’ll notice, he isn’t wearing socks!). Making the big, bad Microsoft human is an impressive feat.

So I’ve been thinking about how to apply this innovation in the church. In order to attract people who otherwise wouldn’t come into the church, it seems to me that we should be working to export outside the four walls of the church something of the experience that happens inside the four walls. Many of our churches are doing that now with video streams and podcasts of sermons or other portions of weekend worship.

But what if we had a video “reporter” like Scoble who would go around and capture some of the experience of our other programming? For example, we could send a reporter into our children’s area on Sunday morning to capture a sense of the excitement, get testimonials from parents and kids, show the production quality of the large group time, etc. And then produce it for web streaming with minimal editing and no titles, effects, etc. That kind of anti-slick communication could go a long way to make huge churches like Resurrection seem small, accessible, and human. And it could make small churches seem innovative, high-tech, and exciting.

Is anyone out there doing this now? If so, I haven’t seen it.

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