Sunday, February 24, 2008

Christian YouTube

From Matt Curry of the AP (hat tip: C-J)...

Chris Wyatt is on a mission. Walking hastily through his cavernous fourth-floor headquarters in suburban Dallas, the founder of the Christian version of YouTube is searching for an available conference room.

He quickly passes reminders of his success: a group of customer service representatives on the phone, animated meetings in progress and extra office space that is preparing to move into. Finally settled, the nattily dressed former TV producer insists he is as surprised as anyone that the site was identified earlier this year by comScore as the fastest growing on the, a video-sharing site with Christian content, drew more than 4 million unique visitors during October. It maintains more than 150,000 registered users with active profiles. Plans for the future include producing entertainment programs at the site's headquarters north of Dallas.

GodTube is among religion-based Web sites that closely copy popular secular models. is similar to the social networking site MySpace, and is the religious right's response to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Similar sites target Muslim and Jewish audiences.

Wyatt, GodTube's CEO, is reaching more people than he could hope for in a lifetime of pulpit appearances. He points out that users on Sunday mornings outnumber megachurch pastor Joel Osteen's congregation in Houston....

GodTube reviews every video uploaded and rejects those with objectionable content. Members of other religions are invited to participate on the Web site, but they cannot proselytize. Atheists are welcome, too, and they may share their point of view, "as long as it's done respectfully."

Wyatt, a member of First Baptist Church of Dallas, describes the site as a neutral "Switzerland" open to various theological viewpoints. That doesn't mean shots aren't being fired.

Videos being viewed recently include "Why Pentecostalism is not of God," "Mormonism exposed," and "The papacy is NOT biblical."

With more than 25,000 videos on the site and 300 to 500 arriving each day, some question how Wyatt can continue monitoring them all. He maintains that the job is not as difficult as it might seem. About 10 people are monitoring content at any one time, said Wyatt, who hires seminary students for the task.

"It's not really as intensive a process as you might think it is," Wyatt said....


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