Saturday, December 22, 2007


USA Today on GodTube (hat tip: Linda Christiansen)...

In the beginning, there was, the viral video supersite.

That concept begat The Christian video and social networking site — subtitled "Broadcast Him" — launched in August to offer an evangelical environment for videos on the Web.

Now, GodTube founder Chris Wyatt, a 38-year-old former TV producer, is making the Bible itself into a viral video experience.

Though searchable Bible translations have long been on the Internet ( offers 21 English versions), GodTube's new feature allows Web users to add videos linked to exploring, expounding or illustrating the text.

"Everyone has a verse that speaks to them from their heart. This way, the Bible is told from a personal point of view," says Wyatt, a student at Dallas Theological Seminary. Later in 2008, will add the capacity for people to comment and post photos.

For now, users click on the Virtual Bible to view the New King James Version or the American Standard Version. From there, they can hop to their favorite verse or click page by page from Genesis to Revelation.

At launch time, each Virtual Bible book linked to some of 10,000 videos drawn from GodTube's files and those submitted by 50 partners, including churches, ministries and Christian organizations.

About half the postings are professionally produced videos; the rest are homemade. Some professional videos are made to look homey.

There are video spoofs of Geico insurance ads: "Creation: So easy a caveman can get it," linked to Genesis.

A Christian legal group, the Alliance Defense Fund, links to Leviticus, one of the Bible's more legalistic books, with a video counseling high schools on how to counter gay and lesbian activists on campus.

There's a video produced by GodTube partner Bluefish TV, which makes videos for religious groups. It features the 4-year-old daughter of a Bluefish exec in a pink "Princess" T-shirt, reciting the 23rd Psalm.

Unlike Thomas Jefferson, who cut and pasted Scripture to his own liking to create a personalized Bible, or Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia where users create and refine the content, GodTube's Virtual Bible won't allow viewers to trifle with the text.

And, as with GodTube, everything submitted is reviewed by Christian editors before it's posted. Blasphemy and sex jokes are screened out, along with racism, anti-Semitism and general rudeness.

Wyatt also has enhanced the GodTube site with a Prayer Wall, also added Monday, where users can post a brief prayer or click on one to read and respond. When a user comments on a prayer, the original poster is notified that someone prayed on their behalf.

GodTube may be like the fabled mustard seed in the biblical parable: it starts small and grows mighty. It has burgeoned in just four months; it had 866,000 unique visitors in the USA in November, according to Web traffic tracker ComScore Media Metrix., the leading general spirituality site, had just under 3 million unique visitors that month. And multimedia behemoth YouTube had 53.5 million.

"We aren't MySpace or Facebook. We're not chasing cool," Wyatt says. "Our demographic is religious."


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