If you haven’t kept up with the cross-platform app, Pearltrees, now’s the time.
Think of Pearltrees like Facebook for bookmarks … on steroids. It allows you to graphically organize your web bookmarks into trees and share them with the world. And just recently they announced the new iPhone app has arrived, and apps for other phones are in the works! But the real power of Pearltrees is not in saving bookmarks for later – its in their use of real-time collaboration to enhance everything from vacation to Church ministry.
But before I talk about how Pearltrees is shaping Church ministry, let me give a brief overview of what it can do for you. And be sure to check out the video after the jump for a great interview with two of the executives at Pearltrees!
Pearltrees is a social networking site for bookmarks. Yes, that’s right – those links you store from time to time that get so cluttered that you’ve probably stopped using them altogether. Anymore, most browsers have moved toward a “favorites” list of your top sites in a large-thumbnail graphical display. But most of us use the web for more than 10 sites, and often we find a gem out there and know we’ll want to come back to it later … if we can find where we stored that pesky bookmark! Enter Pearltrees.
By organizing your bookmarks into trees, it’s possible (and even fun) to quickly identify where each of your bookmarks are stored at. Perhaps you create a tree called “vacations”. Inside you have subcategories for different destinations you’ve been to or would like to go to. The subcategories can keep going deeper and deeper as your tree gains more and more branches. On the iPad (and now iPhone), navigation occurs naturally as you drag the trees around in 2-dimensional space, viewing one branch at a time. And because everything is stored on the cloud, your bookmarks instantly transfer from one device to the next, and is available on Windows, Mac, Linux/Unix, and iOS.
But even better than graphical displays and cloud storage for your bookmarks is the social networking component. With the tap of a button you can see similar trees as the one you have open, created by the growing user base at Pearltrees. You can easily grab someone else’s tree and graft it onto yours, effectively following their topic. Even more, you can set up Pearltree teams where several users can collaborate on a single tree, adding new links and enhancing everyone’s searching capabilities.
But wait, there’s more!
Check out this video interview for even more features of Pearltrees and the power that comes with it:
[Video courtesy of Robert Scoble, Rackspace]
Pearltrees and Church Ministry
Perhaps you’ve already begun to think of the possibilities of using Pearltrees in your ministry. If not, let me give get you thinking.
As someone who uses technology in ministry with some frequency, I have several go-to sites to get ideas and stay on top of things. My “church” pearltree (accessible here) has sites with commentary for preaching, other church websites for ideas, devotionals, worship helps, etc. Already someone has asked to make this a team effort, and the list has grown. By offering up the link, I recognize that the tree is no longer my own, but is now a collaborative project. While this might scare some, it helps me to find new ideas and think outside the box. Church leaders no longer have to work in isolation (okay maybe we never really did). But now the collaboration is even greater. There are two options here – one is to collaborate with church leaders you’ve never even met, and the other is to set up a trusted network of peers to share ideas.
But lets take it a step further and think beyond ourselves. What if your church had a pearltree that was shared with others, and even became a collaborative effort? Now the term “wiki church” takes on a whole new meaning! Branches could be set up for small-group studies, mission projects, youth events, and many more. Every ministry in your church can have a place, linked to the pages on your church website, Facebook page, or any URL that is helpful. Members can add in pictures and notes and make the tree come alive.
In this way, multiple churches can even come together for the good of the Kingdom. Let’s say you are planning a mission trip to somewhere in Mexico, where you know other teams from other churches have gone before and will go again. You set up a pearltree for the trip, adding in relevant webpages you’ve found in your research during the planning stages. When you go on the trip, you add photos and notes along the way – in part for your own purposes to help you tell the story when you get back, and in part to help others that will come later. When you return, you get in contact with the next church that’s heading out there and send them the pearltree. Now they have access to what you accomplished, making their work more efficient and better tuned to the needs of the people.
Obviously this has application at regional and denominational levels too.
But my question for you is, how are you using Pearltrees to enhance your church ministry?