Some of the best articles and webpages I've found related to mobile ministry in the past week (note that there have been some gigantic developments in the Operating System/Ecosystem sphere of mobile in the last week and, rather than putting up an article or two here, I hope to be able to provide some more detailed information and analysis on the Nokia/Microsoft deal, the emergence of WebOS 2.0, and the potential for Apple deploying a lower cost iOS iPhone in the near future):
1) Mary Meeker, dubbed “Queen of the Net”, shared her latest research findings in Mary Meeker: Mobile Driving Most Dramatic Behavior Transformation in History (Mary’s slide deck here)
2) Want to know how to reach the unreached through mobile ministry? Know the situation on the ground! Start where the people, economy and the technology are rather than where you hope they’ll be five years from now. India, home to nearly half of the unengaged unreached, is a country much on my heart and if we can find a way to use the mobile to reach the unreached peoples there we can reach the unreached most anywhere. Can India Lead the Mobile Internet Revolution (free registration required) provides a nice overview of the current situation and some of the challenges India faces trying to connect its billion plus citizens to the mobile web. One quick pointer- don’t get too excited about that $125 Android phone. For the majority of the country that are making $2 a day that’s more than four months salary!!! If that doesn’t stop you considering it know that the 3G service they’ll need to access for your app to work will break the bank for these guys at less than 50 MB use per month!
3) One way to allow people to access the web is to make their “dumbphones” able to access the web via SMS. You can read about the niftiest and newest way that this has been put to use in a way even phones without data plans can use in Gemalto squeezes Facebook onto a SIM. The capabilities and user interface may not be totally startling or smooth but Facebook wants to reach their target audience and they’re doing what it takes to meet them where they’re at. Kudos to Facebook! May those who bear the name of Christ be not too far behind. (update, I just learned of two other services that provide a similar functionality for Facebook users without data plans- article 1 and article 2)
4) As much as I’m encouraged by Facebook’s efforts let me encourage you to think beyond Facebook. Texting is still king when it comes to social media as you will find in Deloitte: Text Messaging Still Far More Popular Than Mobile Twitter, Other Social Networks. Ignore the potential SMS texting, creatively applied, brings to your ministry at your own expense.
5) Prioritizing your steps in mobile ministry is hugely important and I really hope we’re not falling for taking up apps as a first foray into the mobile ministry field. I especially hope we're not doing the vanity app thing like the CEOs you’ll read about in Lesson from the Summit: Putting the App Before the Horse
6) If you aren’t sure what mobile web experience to design for check out Mobile Browser Shares to see what people are using to browse the web in the developing world.
7) Every year The Horizon Report comes out showing what new technologies are emerging that educators should take advantage of. In The Horizon Report: 2011 Edition educators are told that mobile phones and eBook readers are the eLearning tools that need to be leveraged in the coming year. Mobile-based technologies like augmented reality are also pointed out as key eLearning technologies coming onto the scene within the next five years.
8) The great majority of the unreached earn less than $5 a day and many earn less than $2 a day, qualifying them as the “base of the pyramid”- those at the lowest end of the economic spectrum. The mLearning: A Platform for Educational Opportunities at the Base of the Pyramid report shows us how mobile can reach even these people and, how it may actually be the most ideal tool for reaching people at the bottom of the pyramid.
9) With all the claims and counter claims for the efficacy of tech and social media in the effort to topple Egypts regime flying around the web right now you might be interested to find some good baseline information on what technology brings to the table in The 7 Ways Digital Tech Helps Activists
10) Do you want some practical pointers on how you can make a very insecure communication mode, SMS, somewhat more secure from repressive governments’ prying eyes? SMS Privacy Tips for Election Monitoring and More is just the resource you’re looking for!