A presentation given at the Mobile Ministry Forum Consultation in December 2011, highlighting 7 key trends in the mobile space:
- Saturation - It is projected that we'll reach 7 billion mobile phone subscriptions in 2012. That doesn't mean everyone will have a phone, but most will have access, whether with their own phone or through friends and family. In 2011, there were 1 billion mobile broadband subscriptions. 2 billion smartphones are predicted for 2015.
- Mini Tablets/e-Readers - These are becoming more affordable, such as the $60 tablets being developed in India for school children.
- Operating Systems - Android sales are increasing, although a large proportion of current phones run on Symbian.
- Content - New content repositories are being created, such as REAP (SIL), ETEN (Every Tribe Every Nation), TWR's Linguablast and LinguaDMS.
- Facebook - Facebook is expected to reach 1 billion users in 2012.
- Engagement - There's a desire to encourage and measure engagement with content. It's estimated that 90% users read/watch content, 9% interact with it (e.g. comment/like/share), and 1% create new content.
- Security - Complete anonymity doesn't exist. There is an increased ability to monitor people's mobile use. Sharing SD cards and bluetooth transfers are safer in sensitive situations. Some countries are trying to phase out anonymous SIM cards, requiring people to register.
Watch the video in Vimeo... [more...]
"When it comes to audio and video products, the mobile phone can be an effective method of getting the Scriptures to people... who then pass them on to other people... who then pass them on to other people..."
This article discusses some of the implications of mobile phone technology for encouraging the sharing of audio/video Scripture products. Questions raised include:
- Who is your target audience?
- What are the best Scripture products for the phone?
- How will people get their first copy of the media files which they can then share with their friends?
- Are there any copyright issues involved?
- How could mobile phone technology become an obstacle to people engaging seriously with God’s Word?
- What are the most positive aspects of using mobile phones for Scripture distribution?
YouVersion and OneHope have teamed together to develop The Bible App for Kids, "designed specifically to engage children with stories from the Bible". It's available for free download for Android and iOS mobile devices. It was installed more than 450,000 times by people on its launch day.
The app comes with six interactive Bible stories:
- In the Beginning (Creation of the world)
- The First Sin (The fall)
- The First Christmas Gift (Jesus is born)
- Through the Roof (Jesus heals a paralyzed man)
- It is Finished! (The cross)
- A Happy Sunday (The empty tomb)
More are promised in the future.
Each story has seven or eight colorful pictures with text, narration and background music. Touching different items on a picture makes them come to life, such as letting the paralyzed man down from the roof or seeing him get up and leap for joy. There is treasure to collect and questions to answer along the way. [more...]
In the Jump Into the Word blog, Lawson Murray asks how the digital age will influence Bible engagement.
He makes a list of possible effects:
- "the Bible will be read in multiple formats in an ever emerging variety of forms on a growing range of devices
- availability and access to different Bible versions and translations will continue to increase
- greater access to audio Bibles and podcasts may help us become better “hearers” of the Word
- sharing thoughts and insights about the Bible may increase due to social networks like facebook and Linkedin
- interactive software programs/systems, hypertext, blogs, posts and webinars uniquely facilitate biblical study and reflection
- sharing favourite or meaningful verses will increase due to texting and tweeting
- the individual’s opportunity and capacity to understand and interpret the Scriptures will increase
- missions could prosper because nations closed to the Gospel will find it more difficult to restrict the availability of biblical texts
- the Scriptures are readily available in any language or translation to anyone on earth with a smart phone
- Scripture memorization may decline because Google, Bible Gateway, You Version and such make it easy to look up a passage or text
- people will become significantly less likely to buy printed copies of the Bible
- reading Scripture within a contemplative framework may decline
- sequential reading will decline due to the fact that reading on the web develops inclinations to skip around, dip and dabble, browse or scan information
- tendencies to read the Bible in short fast bursts will increase
- concentration and meditation on the Scriptures will suffer because of what Cory Doctorow has called “an ecosystem of interruption technologies” (animations, hyperlinks, live feeds, pop-ups and so on)
- qualitative depth of reading will be sacrificed for reading geared to a quantitative scope
- e-books may augment a predisposition to uncouple content from form which may lead to tendencies to view the Scriptures as something detached from their incarnational form – the textual equivalent of Cartesian dualism
- the role of the local church in the transmission and interpretation of the Scriptures will decline"
Bible.is from Faith Comes By Hearing brings together Bible text and audio so you can read and listen to God's Word using a web browser, iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone apps. Verses can be shared via Facebook and Twitter.
You can select from over 800 languages, and this continues to grow as part of FCBH's Digital Bible Platform - which "serves to engage a growing digital population by bringing together a vast collection of media rich Bible content in a fast, secure, centralized repository." [more...]
Blind and partially sighted people who cannot read standard print may use one or more accessible formats to read the Bible. Their choice may depend on the degree of sight loss, whether they are at home or in public, the amount of storage space available, how much they have to read and whether they are comfortable operating modern electronic equipment.
How do you get Scripture video into a format that people can watch and share on their mobile phones? You'll need a program that can convert video to 3GP and MP4 file formats.
Choosing the right video file type can take some trial and error with sample phones among your target audience. You might need to distribute mobile phone video in at least two file types. For example, H.263 3GPP (.3gp) video files are used for many low-end phones with small screen sizes and less powerful processors. MPEG-4/H.264 (.mp4 or .3gp) video files are what you'll need for higher-end phones and smartphones (such as the iPhone) which have larger screen sizes and faster processors.
There are all kinds of options to choose from (video and audio codecs, bitrates, frame rate, sampling frequency, screen size, etc.), so it can get complicated. That's why it's good to have a converter program that meets your needs and level of expertise, giving you the options you need but not too many to confuse you. [more...]
The Deaf Bible website and smartphone app are making the Scriptures in sign language freely available in an accessible video format for the Deaf to engage with God's Word. The vision of Deaf Bible is "to provide the Word of God in every sign language translation."
Faith Comes By Hearing has now released Version 2.0 of the Deaf Bible app which contains the Scriptures in American Sign Language as well as selected books and passages in the following sign languages: Bolivian, Burundi, Colombian, Ethiopian, French, Ghanaian, Kenyan, Kerelan (India), Tanzanian and Ugandan. This has been made possible by partnerships with national Bible societies, Deaf Missions and DOOR International.
The app maximises the use of icons and sign language videos for navigation rather than relying on a text-based interface. [more...]
"Prepare little, fill often, and expect users to engage with the content in small quantities (hopefully on frequent occasions) is the paradigm of the digital wineskin. The mode of operation for a Scripture translation project to consider becomes: Publish early, publish little and publish often – in various media formats, and for a range of digital delivery platforms."
This paper reviews features of digital publishing and associated technology that are transforming approaches to Scripture translation and publication in minority languages. Understanding and harnessing the potential of micro-content, the small units of material that make up digital media products, are key themes. The paper recommends that digital publication starts at an early stage in a translation project, making small units of Scripture available to the language community in audio and text formats as soon as each is completed and checked. It promotes the idea of incrementally publishing small units in various media formats. By gaining the attention of the audience with the small unit, there is potential for spiritual awakening that leads to an appetite for the big. [more...]
The Millennial generation of young people are known as "digital natives". According to recent research carried out by the Barna Group in the USA:
"the most common way Millennials are blending their faith and technology is through digital reading of Scripture. It’s an escalating trend, considering there are just as many YouVersion (the free Bible phone app) downloads as there are Instagram downloads. And BibleGateway.com has become one of the top Christian websites today."
The research found that:
"Seven out of 10 of practicing Christian Millennials (70%) read Scripture on a screen. One-third of all Millennials says they read sacred Scripture on a phone or online, demonstrating how broadly the digital trends are shaping this generation."
In addition, 38% of practicing Christian Millennials said they search the Internet to verify something a faith leader has said. This might be during a sermon, as many bring their smartphones or tablets to church with them. [more...]