Did you know that on average we visit a website for 48 seconds, but if the website has video we stay for almost six minutes? Online video has tremendous power and it’s only growing. Check out these incredible statistics:
Sparked by television and fueled by YouTube, our visual age means that Catholics need to produce evocative *visual* media in order to get our message out. Sure, intelligent prose is necessary. Of course we must have beautiful graphics and vibrant colors. But if you want people to connect with the Catholic message, if you want to draw them into the story, video is key.
This is why Fr. Robert Barron’s YouTube work is one of the most effective models of online evangelism. He meets people where they are, and in their preferred format–video. Knowing that YouTube gets three billion views per day, more of us need to follow his lead.
The good news is that we can. In today’s world there’s almost no barrier for you to produce and share attractive videos. Most smartphones capture better quality video than camcorders did ten years ago, and even if you don’t have a camera phone you can buy an easy-to-use FlipCAM for less than $100. Also, almost every modern computer comes with some free video-editing software–Windows Movie Maker for PCs and iMovie for Macs.
So find a camera, play with the editing programs, and get creative. Help your pastor film a 5-minute reflection each week and post it to YouTube. Share how your parish, ministry, apostolate, or website is making a difference in the world and draw more people into the movement. Express the beauty and grandeur of our towering cathedrals, haunting songs, and enchanting icons by packaging video, pictures, and music into a viral work of art.
If we want to spread our Faith in the visual age, we simply must use more video.
(On a side note, I loved the stat that said video makes people 85% more likely to buy a product. I think that’s precisely what happened with The Church and New Media book. I’m convinced that the video book trailer, which really went viral through many online circles, led to many sales.)