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Viral
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2012
Viral is a pretty new book from Leonard Sweet all about the impact modern social media and technology can have on helping us as a Church to spread the gospel. Leonard splits society into two groups - Gutenbergers who grew up before the introduction of Facebook/Twitter etc, and Googlers who are native to the use of social networking sites. He looks in depth at the differences in these two groups, and I felt that he spent too much time looking at this and drawing too many generalisations by splitting all current Western society into just two groups.

Once the book moves on to looking at different sites and technologies - Twitter, Facebook, iPhones and Google and how we can use them to connect with God and to connect with those we need to reach out with. The Twitter section has some very good practical applicable sections about how we can just Twitter to help our relationship with God, and how to be a source of light shining bright in the darkness not hidden under a stand in the twittersphere. Unfortunately the other sections don't match up to this and I found them to be less applicable, and more just theory based.

In general this book seems to be aimed more at those who are a bit older and less used to social networking, and as such spends a lot of time explaining those networks, and also relates them to some quite deep church history and theology that makes this a tough read, but one that would be good for those who are in leadership positions in the church and need to learn how to embrace modern outreach techniques.

Legal disclaimer - I was provided with a free e-copy of this book by Waterbrook Multnomah in return for a fair review. I was not obliged to post a positive review
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on 27 August 2012
I was excited by the title of this Leonard Sweet book. Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival has a real sense of promise about it. But I have to confess that I was disappointed, much as I was with another of his books, I am a Follower. I think at this point I need to admit that I am probably just not a Leonard Sweet fan. I find too much of his writing to be disjointed and circular; I also feel it slips into repetition.

Yet this is not to take away from the fact that there are some good ideas in the book, as he questions what it means to understand the Google culture now pervasive in the West. He suggests that this technological change, and its resulting cultural impact, is as significant as the introduction of the Gutenberg press in terms of how Christians might reach the world with the gospel. Thus, he claims, the key is for Christians to adapt to these changes, to learn from the `digital natives' who are confident in this new world of iPhones, twitter and Facebook, as they leverage networks as a means of relationship-building over the individualism inherent in the Gutenberg culture.

Honestly...? I think this is articulated better and, perhaps, with fewer generalisations by other writers I have been reading lately. It's a shame because I really want to like Leonard Sweet's work and I certainly am fascinated by the same kind of topics as he writes about, but I just can't get past his writing style. However, if you love Sweet's work and are unfamiliar with this kind of categorisation of culture within the liminality in which we currently find ourselves, then this might be one for you!

I received a free e-copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in return for a fair review.
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