Tuesday, September 30, 2008

2008 ELCA Communicators Conference keynote

You may recall that last month I gave a speech in Chicago at the 2008 ELCA Communicators Conference. This particular conference is important to me, for a couple reasons. First off, my 2006 speech to this group was the most impactful speech I’ve ever given. It was wild to see so many blogs pop up, and to receive e-mails months, even a year or more after the fact. I can count dozens of friends on Facebook and regular e-mail correspondents from people who were either in the audience that day or who heard the audio online after the conference. It lead directly to being asked to serve on the board of directors for Augsburg Fortress, an innovative publisher who’s making incredible strides as it adjusts to a changing marketplace – a professional development that has been valuable in its own right.

Needless to say, I was excited to be asked back – and thoroughly enjoyed the follow-up presentation that I gave. This year the ELCA video taped the presentation, and were gracious enough to share the video with me. For those who are interested, this year’s speech is included below.

Thanks again to the ELCA for sharing the recording. Those of us who make technology our living tend to spend gallons of digital ink complaining about the hordes who don’t get it. It’s to the ELCA’s credit that they are trying very hard to learn these new media, experiment, figure out what doesn’t work, and iterate. I never expected to sit in a position of leadership within the church – not least of all because it’s my “adopted” church (I was raised Catholic), but also because, well, church leaders were them, definitely not me. It’s humbling to be in a position to influence how those decisions are getting made.

I’m incredibly proud of what those in the audience have accomplished. Whether it’s Ning-based social networks focused on the liturgy, countless Facebook groups whose members number in the thousands, or the fact that more than one out of every 100 books available on the Kindle at launch came from Augsburg Fortress – the church is working hard to apply these modern technologies to fundamental challenges.

I’m looking forward to hearing from those who watch the speech… what did I miss?


  1. I don't think you missed much Rick, if anything. I saw you in 2006 and this year and you've lit a fire beneath several of us communicators.

    I hope the ELCA can begin to get out front on some of these rapidly changing technologies. I see mobile computing getting way large in the next few years and I just wonder what applications we could use to take advantage of that stream. Maybe an iPhone app to locate nearby Lutherans? :-)

  2. I really enjoyed the video of your talk. You're a good communicator and I'm glad that many people were motivated to start their own blogs.