Archives For March 2012

It’s a special SXSW Free Music Edition of Music Mondays.

For those of you who can’t afford $599 tickets to SXSW (not to mention airfare and hotels). . .

Here’s a ton of free, legal songs from many of the bands that are playing at SXSW:


An additional free-of-charge tip:

  • Be sure to check back frequently with Google’s new, all-things-media store Google Play. Everyday they have a different album for 25 cents. I’ll repeat. An entire album. 25 pennies. Even I will buy Coldplay Mylo Xyloto for 25 pennies (they’ve also had Lady Antebellum, Guns n Roses, et al). They also have a daily book for 25 cents (Moneyball is today’s).
  • AND Amazon seems to be matching every day’s music deal (if, like me, you prefer Amazon’s much simpler though not-nearly-as-simple-as-iTunes downloads).

Let us know in the comments about any other great music deals we’re missing out on (SXSW related or otherwise)!

“I don’t know how to explain this other than that God has chosen now as the time for Ethiopia to receive him.

The things we see and the stories we hear seem to be straight out of the book of Acts.”

One year ago, Seth was a senior at the University of Arkansas. He and a friend had committed to going on STINT to Ethiopia but they had no team, no women committed to go. God worked in incredible ways to raise up 3 women to go with them.

Seth sent us this audio last week and we added pictures (actually Michael Allen, our intern video guru) and showed it at our weekly meeting. 4 guys came up after Cru desiring to go to Ethiopia on summer project.

I’d encourage you to watch and be encouraged by how God is moving in Ethiopia (and pray for him to do the same across Africa).

Some great quotes from this 3 minute video:

  • 25 years ago Ethiopia was a closed, Communist nation. Christianity was illegal.
  • Now Ethiopia is open to the gospel and it is spreading like an unquenchable fire.
  • The harvest is plentiful and the laborers, well, not so much.
  • You can be one of these laborers.
  • Consider coming on STINT when you graduate.
  • Please come and help us


Everyone who seeks to mobilize support for a non-profit should be taking notes on what Invisible Children has accomplished. And I think we can learn a lot from the video.

Most of us will barely pause to watch a 3 minutes “cause” video. But this morning, with my bowl of cereal, I sat (with 21 million others) watching a THIRTY minute video.

The rapid spread of the video seemed to have far surpassed even Invisible Children’s lofty hopes (I saw one IC’er tweet that they were hoping for 500,000 shares on Twitter).

  • Fast Company called it the Making of a Viral Masterpiece and a public relations coup
  • Celebs/Twitter Royalty like Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Perez Hilton, Justin Bieber, Ryan Seacrest and others watched the video and retweeted it.
  •  They’ve reached more people in 24 hours than the last 9 years of crisscrossing the globe showing videos on college campuses (Though you’d have to guess that all that crisscrossing gave them the foundation and good will, and brand recognition to create such a massive groundswell. Makes you wonder what would have happened if they were a brand new org just starting with this KONY2012 gameplan. Would it have taken off like it has without the hard work of many years?)

A few takeaways (as I process what we can learn for our own organization):

  • While many bemoan slacktivism (taking easy, social actions in support of a cause), I think this Invisible Children coup gave a glimpse of how it can be harnessed and channeled for good (and see this article – Slactivism Causes Engagement)
  • Video is powerful
  • College students love causes (and slacktivism!). Though I do follow a disproportionate amount of college students on Twitter it seems like the majority of the Retweets came from this generation.
  • Invisible Children had a VERY well thought through gameplan. It wasn’t just a video. And the video didn’t just cast vision for their cause. They give really clear next steps (and more vision!) for how YOU can get involved.
  • They targeted key gatekeepers who could help accelerate the spread of their idea (and make it super easy for their devoted followers to pester those gatekeepers until they give in)
  • Be ready for pushback
    • In this new age of instant media exposure, it seems that pushback is soon to follow
    • The PR battle is won or lost quickly on the internets
    • Almost immediately on the heels of all the good PR, many started retweeting this Visible Children article that is strongly anti-Invisible Children
    • [update – Fast Company has a good summary of the backlash]
    • Cru experienced this, this past summer. I think we could learn a thing or two from how Invisible Children responded in less than 24 hours to these unfavorable reports:
      • Invisible Children has an entire section of their website dedicated to critiques


It’s obvious that explicitly Christian non-profits can’t replicate everything a secular (though Christian-based) organization like Invisible Children does.

But I wonder:

  • Would a group like the Travelling Team (who, much like Invisible Children, travels across the U.S. mobilizing college students) would benefit from putting more resources toward a social media/video strategy?
  • Should Cru be investing more money in video/social media?
  • Who are the gatekeepers we should be seeking out who can quickly help ideas spread (and how can we help our already-devoted followers win them over)?
  • How can we help channel college students’ natural passion for world-changing?


What are your takeaways?


Music Monday

March 5, 2012 — Leave a comment

Here’s some of the best albums so far in 2012 that you can stream for free right now (click the title to go to the respective sites to stream. Click on Spotify Link to listen in Spotify):

Speaking of Bon Iver, it would be well worth 24 minutes of your life to watch/listen to this beautiful, minimalistic performance: