We have received a flattering, not to mention flabbergasting invitation recently. The Central Intelligence Agency is holding a conference next month on “Cyber-influence” and asked us to participate. They are interested in the persuasive arts as practiced on the internet, and wanted to know more about some of the thinking that informs the diocesan Web site in general, and this blog in particular.
Perhaps one doesn’t think of the diocese and the Company as natural allies, but the strategies that drive evangelism can easily be adapted to shaping the image of the US in other countries and cultures. The challenges of overcoming initial resistance, putting one’s best foot forward, giving the Web visitor a reason to keep learning more about you, and then finally persuading them to change the way they think and act are similar to both enterprises. One hears a lot these days about “soft power.” Internet evangelism is one way of deploying the soft power of God.
The conference is taking place at a time when I have a previous commitment, but we are sending a very knowledgeable representative, and I can’t wait to hear about his experience.