Out of curiosity, I decided to google "Christian social networking" to see what I would find in the realm of Christian alternatives to myspace and facebook. I was quite surprised with what I found (2,250,000 pages) in just a few minutes.
A few were very simple. One looked a lot like Myspace (can you find it).
Here is what I found in less than 5 minutes, meaning there are probably a ton more out there:
holypal "The premier Christian social network"
mychurch "is the best way for a church to build an online community."
Shoutlife "is a community / social networking website that offers free profiles with complete customization, unlimited photos, private/instant messaging, chat, blogging and more. Our goal is to provide a safe and clean, easy to use community environment with the features you love. At ShoutLife.com, you can connect with your friends as well as amazing music artists, authors, comedians, organizations and more."
5loaves "We are an emerging Christian community of diverse people connecting with one another to build friendships, share resources, nurture our families, and strengthen the global church."
christianspaces Everything (and I mean everything) on this page looks a lot like another social networking site I know of, but which one is it? Not sure what to think about this line from the front page, "101ChristianSpaces.com is a free Christian social networking site owned & run by genuine Christians!" Are other sites not run by genuine Christians?
mypraize - this is mostly a "Christian" music focused version of myspace
mygodlyplace "We are a new Christian MySpace Alternative website offering fun, games, quizzes, photos, photo rating, photo battles, groups, blogs, events, classifieds, polls, forums, IM, videos, music and just plain sharing our love for Jesus Christ as Christians. We are your Family Safe Alternative to MySpace/Hi5/Friendster/Etc. Signup now for FREE! Get your Free profile, edit it, add some photos, videos, music and be on your way to meeting new Christian Friends today!" But the part that made me chuckle was this next line "THE FIRST 10,000 TO SIGNUP ARE ENTERED TO WIN AN IPOD OR PS3...REGISTER NOW, IT'S FREE...GOOD LUCK & GOD BLESS!!!"
They have merch you can buy, but not nearly as much as the last site - Xianz
myfaithconnects "is a fun place for Christians around the world to socialize and connect with each other. We offer a clean atmosphere for Christians of every denomination to express themselves, share their interests, and make new friends in the process."
fellowshipbuilder: Cultivating Christian community
My favorite part of this site is all the merch you can buy. For instance you can buy a Framed Panel Print for $50 with Robbie D on it. Don't want that, how about a throw pillow or teddy bear. And so much more...
So, what do you do with all of these (and the many more out there) alternatives?
Do we ignore them and not join?
Do we join them all?
Do we join if one of our students is on that site?
Do your students even know about these alternatives? I'd be curious to take a poll with students in our ministries and see how many of them know there are "Christian alternatives" to Facebook, Myspace, Bebo,....
What do you think about all of these sites? Is it too much? Is the church trying too hard to stay away from the world? Is it a good alternative to keeping our students safer?