I use the internet a lot in both ministry and my personal life. The more I use the ‘net, the more I find I tend to use the same websites for a majority of my needs. I guess you could say I become a creature of habit, I won’t be offended. I like trying new sites and venturing to other corners of the web, but if a website works for what I need why would I stop using it?
According to what I needed most this year, here are my favorites.
Best of 2008: Websites:
Facebook (personal/ministry) – Facebook was a great website to not only stay connected to students, but also to connect with other friends. You can stay connected to students no matter where you in relationship to where they are (ie, even if you move away or go on vacation you can keep up to date with what they are doing). You can be my friend by going to my profile.
Twitter (personal) – Twitter is a fun way to stay connected with friends in 140 characters or less. You can tweet from the website, your phone, or using a number of apps. I discussed a couple twitter applications over a year ago, check out some of the apps you can get to enhance your twitter experience. My favorite application is Tweetdeck, here is my tweetdeck review. I really love the ability to know what people are doing, hear stories of their youth ministries and something just laugh. You can follow me by going to my profile.
Youth Ministry Exchange (ministry) – YMX has a great forum community, some great articles and reviews and a few other youth ministry specific resources. (and every once and awhile you can see a review I write show up)
YouthMinistry.com (ministry) – A great collection of articles, freebies and other resources. There is a lot of great content on here. I think they’ll publish anything, though (based on the fact that I’ve got some articles on there). Seriously, though, if you are in youth ministry, you need to check out this site.
Blogger (ministry/personal) – I use this site for both my ministry blog and my personal family blog. I like blogger’s ease of use and relatively small learning curve. Its a great site for beginning bloggers to get their feet wet. It is not the only option out there, but I have not had many problems or complaints – so I keep using it.
PBSKids.com (personal) – Now that my oldest son is 4 1/2, we’ve been spending a lot more time online with him. PBSkids is a great site for us, it has a bunch of the shows he loves and has some pretty good games for him to play or activities he can do on his own. If you have little kids, you need to check this site out.
Google.com (personal/ministry) – I use google for email (gmail.com), blog statistics (analytics), searching (google.com), writing (google docs), and maps. I’m on the verge of using it for my blog reader, too (google reader). There are so many ways to use google in your minsitry, which will help streamline your online presence. I won’t spend any more time talking about it, if you want to know more just leave a comment or email me.
Hulu.com (personal) – Because I am a father of 3 young children, I do not get to watch much TV when it airs. Neither my wife nor I watch much of anything on TV, unless it is a cartoon or something the boys also want to watch. So, we watch most of our TV online after it airs. We usually use hulu.com to do this. It is so easy to use and navigate and has great quality and quantity of content. And they have a growing collection of movies to watch, too. For me, this is a much better alternative to paying for some form of cable or dish.