List of 9 Must-have Tools for Reaching the Online Generation

by Paul on July 28, 2008

I decided to list 9 tools I use to connect with the Online Generation and coordinate things with my team. I recommend that you get familiar with these tools. Make them a part of your life. In ten years, I believe these tools (or their equivalent) will be ubiquitous. You should get to know them now, while it is still easy.

1. Gmail Account

I use a Gmail account for just about everything I sign up for online. Gmail accounts have great spam protection. They are web-based, so you can check your email from any connected computer in the world. Additionally, a Gmail login can be tied to any other Google product you choose to use. That way you don’t have to remember a different login for each Google service. Gmail also has an application for the Blackberry, so I can check my Gmail anywhere.

2. Facebook

Facebook is nice, uncluttered, and relatively safe. A Facebook account is free. If you are new to the idea of social networking, you should start with a Facebook account.

3. Google Reader or Another RSS Feed Reader

The only way I keep up will people’s blogs and news on the internet is via my trusty Google Reader. Google Reader allows me to subscribe to RSS feeds. That way I don’t have to waste time visiting over 100 different websites every morning. Google Reader lets me know which ones updated and allows me to read them straight from the Reader. Because Google Reader is web-based, I can check my feeds from any connected computer in the world. Additionally, Google Reader has an application for the Blackberry, allowing me to read my feeds between meetings.

Here is a video by Common Craft that explains RSS:

4. Skype

If you have any conversations internationally, you need to be on Skype. Skype allows to to talk with people, like you were on a telephone, through the internet. It has a lot of other features, including two-way video calls, instant messaging and conference calling with up to nine people.

5. ooVoo

ooVoo is a lot like Skype, except that ooVoo focuses on video conferencing. Through ooVoo, you can have three-way video conference calls for free. If one of the people on the call has a Super ooVoo Account ($10 USA per month) then you can have six people on the call. I use this service quite a bit to have coffee with people around the world while talking about reaching the Online Generation.

6. Twitter or Plurk

If you want to meet lost people online, Twitter and Plurk are the best ways to do so. Here is a video from Common Craft that explains Twitter:

Plurk is similar to Twitter, but Plurk has a more graphical user interface. The URLs for Twitter and Plurk are and

7. Blog

Here is a video from Common Craft that explains a blog:

Having a blog is an important part of online community. It is more intimate than Twitter or Plurk. It is more open than a Facebook account. I personally believe a blog is a great way to practice hospitality on the internet, model a Christ-centered life, and engage people in spiritual conversations. You can set up easy and free blogs with or

8. Flickr Account

Flickr is a great online photo sharing tool. Sharing photos is an important aspect of online community. Here is a video from Common Craft that explains online photo sharing:

You can set up a Flickr account at

9. Viddler Account

Sharing videos online is important as well. Lots of people like to share videos using YouTube, I prefer Viddler, Viddler allows me to record my videos directly online or upload them. If I’m shooting a quick thought, I record it directly to Viddler and can embed it on my blog. If I want to shoot something on a video camera and upload it to Viddler, I can. I can also put text tags in my video which allow me to clarify something I said or post a url to a to a website I referenced. Viddler is a free service.

There you have it – a quick and dirty list of must-have tools for engaging the Online Generation. If you use other tools, or want to comment about these, leave a comment.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Brandice July 29, 2008 at 10:35 am

Thanks so much for the props! :) Glad you’re liking Viddler and recommending it to others!

Paul D. Watson July 29, 2008 at 10:40 am

Thanks Brandice! I appreciate you and the Viddler team. Congrats on your recent marriage!

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