If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t written on this blog in a while (outside of this post). Part of it is my internship/work with Tom’s Guide keeps me busy. The other half is that I don’t feel like I have a lot that’s valuable to say. That’s why I’m happy to announce that liter8.net will no longer be a blog, but a portfolio site.
That’s when it hit me: What about “Christian internet culture”.
What is Christian internet culture?
Christian internet culture? What does that mean?
Well, let’s first understand what internet culture entails. When the internet came about, some people figured out that there were a lot of fun things you could do with it. These included Flash animations, Shockwave games, and chain emails. This is the first version of internet culture. Eventually, internet culture discovered social media, memes, Youtube videos and many, many other things. As the tools spread, so did the public appeal. The internet started out as something for only a few people, where everyone knew all of the the inside jokes. But then fandoms and political groups got involved online, and the internet divided along entertainment and political lines. A number of subcultures formed on sites like Tumblr, Twitter and Reddit, each exploring and discussing in their own way.
Now, the internet is used by billions and most memes are subculture centric, though many have become common knowledge (I’m willing to bet it’s impossible to find an American who doesn’t know who Grumpy Cat is)
If there’s an internet culture, then it should be no surprise that there is a Christian version of the Internet subculture. As many critics have noted, the American Church has mastered mimicking culture and lost the ability to create things that are artistically helpful and unique. So, it’s not shocking to see that the church has done the same. Within a few years of the internet becoming a public tool, Christians developed their own versions of popular sites, their own communities, and even their own memes.
Some of the things that Christian internet culture created have been amazing (John Piper gifs, apologetics databases, Patheos blog network) Some have been horrible (Godinterest, Anti-masturbation cross hoax, Matt Walsh), but all have influenced the way Christians interacted with the church, the world, and each other.
However, most of these events pass us by without knowing. For example, do you know when popular reformed blogger Tim Challies became popular? Do you know when progressive humorist Matthew Paul Turner registered jesusneedsnewpr.net? Or when Matthew Hagee started broadcasting for his dad, John Hagee?
Most people don’t know, and don’t care. But I believe that understanding Christian internet culture will be really helpful for understanding the relationships within the church and between the chuch and “the world”.
That’s why I want to start a new blog on WordPress for recording Christian Internet Culture.
At this blog, I hope to:
- Take a critical yet open-minded look at the Christian Internet culture while being open to poking fun at it along the way.
- Reveal the history behind the sites, writers and trends that have influenced American Christianity .
- Interview the bloggers, creators and thought leaders that we read in order to understand how blogging and the internet has impacted them.
- Discover some of the more absurd attempts at creating a Christian internet culture
In the end, my goal will be to tell the story of how the Internet changed the Church, and how the Church changed the internet.
But before I pursue this project, I want your input. Is this something that would interest you? Would you read about this? Let me know via Twitter and email.