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World Wide Open: A Social Network For Christian Mission?

Through reading an article on social media and the Gospel in the latest edition of the Evangelical Alliance‘s magazine ‘IDEA’, I came across World Wide Open. It’s a social network that aims to connect and empower Christians across the world in order to share expertise and thus further mission. I wondered whether anyone who reads this blog has come across it. What are your experiences?

I thought I would at least register, because some things can only be experienced from inside. The introductory videos are impressive in laying out the vision. However, beyond that, my first impression is that registration and getting going are hard work. You need to supply a lot of information, type in lots of text and click several text boxes to create the kind of profile that might lead to fruitful contact with others in the future. I’m not sure how it could be simplified, but if it could, I think that would be helpful.

Other tools could do with a different approach. There is an opportunity to blog at the site, but only by creating blog posts there. I noticed no facility to import posts from an existing blog. I would think many likely contributors already have their own blogs, and would not want to create another one. Another worthy Christian social network, Missional Tribe, and my reaction was, I don’t want to go to the effort of duplicating my posts.

The IDEA magazine article tells one or two wonderful stories of worthwhile links being created between different agencies. I hope that will come to fruition at  WWO. It says (as seems to be the fashion for a ‘Web 2.0‘ site) that it is in ‘beta‘, and that seems to be accurate to me. It isn’t quite the finished article yet, but I hope it soon will be, and become a helpful tool for the mission of God.

UPDATE, Tuesday 2nd March, 11:15 am: World Wide Open is beginning to kick into action. This morning I received an email from them with my ‘customised updates’. Based on the interests I selected when I signed up, it offers to put me in touch with other registered users. This can be on the basis of leveraging their experience, resources they have uploaded, opportunities to put faith into action, groups I might like to join and people with whom I might like to connect. Naturally, only a minority of them will prove directly relevant, but it is a start and a sign of how the site works.