SG online

More and more, I’m convinced that online forums and discussion boards are the most exciting thing happening to southern gospel these days. Sogospelnews.com, whose online magazine and other enterprises I find serviceable at best, has an outstandingly thorough selection of boards and forums. These forums are some of my favorite industry-related reading. I have at times wondered if new media (such as discussion boards) are having a destabilizing effect on traditional publications and outlets. I don’t think online resources are exactly challenging traditional publications directly; rather online forums and boards are a wonderful place for the business of southern gospel to be demystified and explained, or at least discussed and hashed out, thereby giving fans and performers a common space in which to see a diversity of perspectives on issues that are usually closed off (fans, for instance, typically know little about booking and the business of owning and managing a group, while performers don’t always hear regular, honest feedback from fans on what works and doesn’t from fans’ perspective). My only complaint about the sogospelnew boards is that the administrators can be a titch severe; they mean well, but their draconian efforts to keep discussions artificially bright-eyed and non-confrontational (at least when it comes to anything that may be scandalous) end up squelching some conversations and reinforcing the very ideas messages boards, with their lateral, leveling, equalizing tendencies, are meant to challenge in a variety of ways: namely, that the industry is controlled by oligarchic fiat of a few powerful types. Anyway, it’s worth keeping your eye on these kinds of forums and innovations using online technology (over at gaithernet, there are boards on which performers reply to questions, which isn’t new technology or a new use, but it is new to southern gospel). You know there’s something to all this if Jerry Kirksey and Danny Jones have started blogging.

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