End of GodblogCon Marks Start of 'Something New'

GodblogCon came to an end Sunday, concluding not only this year's two-day gathering of Christian bloggers from around the nation but the four-year run of the annual event touted the largest of its kind.

"GodblogCon is coming to an end," attendees of the Sept. 20-21 convention in Las Vegas were informed on the first page of the gathering's information packet. But "beginning October 2009, something new is coming..."

"What do the GodblogCon administrators have in mind? Expansion of the focus of the conference beyond blogging (and by extension podcasting, vlogging, microblogging, and social networking)," reported Jordan Ballor, associate editor of the Journal of Markets & Morality, a publication of the Acton Institute.

"The plan seems to include turning GodblogCon into 'the premier web media conference of the year to help Christians advance the kingdom through web technologies," wrote Ballor, whose organization was a co-sponsor of the fourth annual GodblogCon, in his corporate blog.

Since 2005, GodblogCon has been fostering community and learning through a combination of plenary sessions, table-talk sessions with web media experts, and meal-time fellowship.

Attendees each year are given the opportunity to meet and converse with fellow "Godbloggers," form friendships and grow communities, learn from experts to improve their web media knowledge and ability, and participate in vision casting for Christian use of web technologies.

"It's a total trip," commented Brett McCracken, editor for Biola magazine at Biola University, a major sponsor of GodblogCon.

"There are mombloggers here, comedy bloggers, political bloggers, and one guy whose blog exclusively covers Mormons," he wrote in his personal blog Sunday. "Everyone is sitting with their laptops, Twittering away as the speakers speak, 'liveblogging' their thoughts on what they are hearing."

Regarding plans for next year's conference, Acton Institute's Ballor was relatively optimistic.

"The idea, which I think is a sound one, is that blogging and other particular forms of new media are simply a part of the interaction between faith and web technology in the 21st century," he wrote Saturday.

But Ballor said he feels GodblogCon "should remain a particular track in a larger conference that focuses on Christianity and the Internet."

"I'm curious to see what all this will mean for GodblogCon's relationship [with] other events, particularly this year's host BlogWorld & New Media Expo, but also other events like BibleTech," he added.

This year, GodblogCon moved to the showroom floor of the BlogWorld and the New Media Expo – the world's largest blogging trade show and conference dedicated to promoting the dynamic industry of blogging and new media. The move, according to GodblogCon executive coordinator Dustin Steeve, was to allow all BlogWorld attendees to benefit from the dynamic speakers to be featured at GodblogCon. It also afforded greater access for Godbloggers to the significant resources of BlogWorld and the New Media Expo.

An official announcement about the transition from GodblogCon to a new Christian web media conference has not yet been posted on the GodblogCon website as of Tuesday morning.

Podcasts of all the sessions from this year's GodblogCon are available on the website of Scriptorium Daily, the media daily of the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University.

Some of the topics at this year's GodblogCon included "The Art of Online Conversation," "The Missional Church in the Internet Age," and "The Internet, Media Ecology, and Christian Consciousness."