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Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  113 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
The gospel is nothing without relationship. And no one gets it like the Google Generation.

God came to earth to invite us, personally, into a relationship. And while Christians at times downplay relationships, the social-media generation is completely sold on the idea. In Viral, Leonard Sweet says Christians need to learn about connecting with others from the experts—those
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by WaterBrook
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Brenten Gilbert
It might just be me, but sometimes, when I’m reading a book, I feel like reaching through the pages and throttling the author. Or, perhaps something less violent, like shouting my arguments and wrestling in a debate akin to one of the many sports talk shows I frequently watch. Such is how I feel when I read books like Viral.

It may be simply that Sweet comes across as arrogant by insisting to use words that cost significantly more than necessary. Or perhaps it’s less personal. Perhaps my angst is
Feb 01, 2016 Rick rated it really liked it

"Genesis 2 reminds us that we are all created to connect on a personal level in significant community. Yet, being one virtual profile among a sea of millions creates a competitive atmosphere where successful individuals become intuitive experts at self-branding."
--Brad Howell, "Finding Love One Byte at a Time"

I haven't read this book, or anything else by Brad for that matter. But I think this quote says something about us. Something is deeply wrong.

What I have read is Viral by Leonard Sweet. As
Julius McCarter
Jan 30, 2016 Julius McCarter rated it it was amazing
Leonard Sweet's Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival is the book every pastor needs to read in 2016. Written in 2012, but more relevant than ever, Viral addresses concerns that have been on my pastoral heart at least since the mid 2000s -- and it's hit me heavier than any recent book on church life in the po-mo world than I can ever remember.

In short: Sweet writes beautifully and convincingly of the opportunities that social media has for evangelism and Christian discipleship
Greg Dill
Sep 19, 2015 Greg Dill rated it really liked it
Excellent insight into the digital culture that permeates our society today. Sweet refers to this culture as the TGIF Culture (Twitter, Google, iPhone, Facebook). And, the generation of people who have grown up in and live in this culture are called Googlers. Any of us who have grown up or lived in the generations prior to these Googlers are referred to as Gutenbergers. Why? Because we are accustomed to the printed word and the mindset that accompanies it (i.e. power of words, dogma, exactness, ...more
Oct 24, 2014 Keith rated it liked it
Viral by Leonard Sweet is jam packed with quotes, thoughts, examples, and references as the author muses for page after page about where we've been and where we're going. The book overall is optimistic about the prospects of making authentic connections and relationship through online social media. It also argues that social media is part of the force changing the way people relate to knowledge, information, ideas, and the Gospel. The view here is one of transition, necessary transition. There i ...more
Gail Welborn
May 01, 2012 Gail Welborn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
‘Viral,’ by Leonard Sweet, Waterbrook Press, 2012, 240 Pages, ISBN-13: 978-0307459152,

Leonard Sweet’s new book, “Viral” is all about the digital age of technology and how the virtual world of connectivity and relationships of social media relate to the gospel. Although written by a George Fox University professor, the content is entertaining, with well-developed ideas, and is easy to read and understand.

Sweet begins by describing two tribes of people, “Googlers,” who feel “…most at home in
Steven Gagne
Dec 30, 2012 Steven Gagne rated it it was amazing
Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival was my first introduction to Dr. Leonard Sweet, and man was a I blown away!

In this book, Sweet works on breaking down two main topics and explains their impact on culture, relationships and communication; and then relates that information to how it has affected the spread of the Gospel. The first topic is that of the two generations we see in USAmerica—”Gutenberger” and “Googler”— and weaves the comparison of these generations through each
Marcus Lynn
Mar 02, 2012 Marcus Lynn rated it really liked it
I hope Leonard Sweet lives a long, long time. But when his time is up and they erect a stone on the spot of his burial site, it needs to read, “He put Christ first. And he made everyone think!” His observations are always insightful even if I don’t always agree with his conclusions.

In his latest book, Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival, Sweet does a service to everyone in church leadership who struggles with where new technology is taking us. I’m an early adopter, but never
May 26, 2012 James rated it really liked it
A couple of years ago a co-worker of mine came back from a conference and quoted Len Sweet as saying, "The question is not whether or not Jesus would tweet, the question is how he would tweet." I was curious but remained unconvinced. Technology comes with a whole set of issues and where I have connected most with Christ has been when I have unplugged (rather than from some 140-characters-long-message). Then a year ago, a friend and professor of mine, John G. Stackhouse, Jr. came back from an `Ad ...more
Aug 13, 2012 Ethan rated it liked it
Shelves: ministry
A discussion of current Internet trends and their possible impact on Christianity, the church, and evangelism in the future.

The author seeks to understand the impact of current Internet trends through the prism of the contrast between those whom he calls "Gutenbergers," those who feel at home in the culture sustained by books, modernism, and all that is able to be quantified and analyzed, and the "Googlers," those who feel at home in the culture sustained by social media, postmodernism, and all
Jul 15, 2012 Jan rated it liked it
Shelves: pnacl

Leonard Sweet, PhD, is one of the leading cultural observer, and has written many wise and provocative books challenging the thinking of Christians across the world. If you have tried to figure out what makes our youngest iPhone generation be so tied to their facebook and texting, you have to read this book. It won't supply the answers to how they think but it will help explain how you might be able to get the Christian message to them.

Are you a Googler or Gutenberger? I find I am half and half
Aug 10, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Change is an absolute as is the human need for connection. One happens externally, the other is hard-wired inside of us. In his book Viral, Leonard Sweet examines both dynamics as they operate in the world around us.

At first glance I thought this book’s goal would be to guide churches in utilizing technology for revival. As I began to read I then thought the goal would be to assist “Gutenbergs” and “Googlers” to understand each other and coexist. What I found was a work that transcended my initi
Mar 17, 2012 Justin rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished-2012
There are two disclaimers that I have to put at the beginning of this review.

The first is an official one. I received this book free for review from Blogging for Books by WaterBrook Multnomah. This does not mean that the review has to be favorable, so the review is my honest opinion, but I do have to notify that it was a review copy. Consider yourself notified.

The second is unofficial. I am a huge fan of Leonard Sweet's books. I have read almost every single one of his books, so the fact that th
Cameron Rebarchek
Apr 27, 2015 Cameron Rebarchek rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-life
Leonard Sweet has a way with words; he seems to have the appropriate quote and the perfect illustration for a point. His imagery causes you to read and reread the sentence again until it sticks with you. In his book “Viral,” Sweet analyzes two different cultures–Gutenbergers and Googlers–and how they react and work with words and technology. His main address, actually, is to shift the Church into the Googler culture, to embrace technology and social media rather than shun it and run away. Throug ...more
Tim Hingston
Jun 29, 2013 Tim Hingston rated it it was amazing
I very much enjoyed this frank discussion about some of the differences between Gutenbergers and Googlers. I do find some of the definitions, by necessity, a little too absolute. Like most things, when we think that we or others are at the extremes of the pendulum swing, we forget that the pendulum spends more time in transition between the extremes than at either end.

This is a challenge to get to the root of our faith and its practice. If we can reflect on what is truly necessary, and understan
May 03, 2012 Matthew rated it really liked it
An incredible work by one of the most futuristic Christian authors of our time. When I started the book, I was under the assumption that this work would be readable only once because of the specific technologies that Sweet centers his ideas around: Twitter, Google, iPhone and Facebook.

Fortunately, Sweets uses one well-constructed analogy (and "narraphor," as he calls them) after another to transcend simplistic, unoriginal ideas like how-to's on technology and what-would-Jesus-do methodologies.
Jan 09, 2016 Eugene rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 09, 2016 Samuel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Well written discussion of how the current trends in web culture and social media are having a dramatic impact on our understanding of church and following Jesus. I appreciate Sweet's willingness to "go there" about this topic, in a time when many Christian leaders are throwing technology under the bus.

Sweet asserts that the Gospel is going "viral" as a way of life, because of social media. I couldn't agree more, and I'm excited and privileged to be able to explore what the implications are for
Chris Giovagnoni
Sep 07, 2013 Chris Giovagnoni rated it really liked it
A star-struck love letter from a digital immigrant to the digital natives he believes are the hope of the Body of Christ. A treatise on all that is right with Millennials and all that is wrong with Gen Xers and Boomers. An infatuated apologetic on social media filled with inventive metaphors and analogies, deliciously quotable and tweetable but at times over reaching. Assertively written. Entertaining. Thought provoking. Wandering. Ultimately a book proclaiming what is obvious to some, feared by ...more
May 26, 2013 Peter rated it did not like it
This is now the second Leonard Sweet book I have read. I hope he is a better speaker than he is an author. He manages to say a lot without saying much. There were lots of things that did not connect, and implications that maybe he saw as obvious and expected readers to find. Maybe it's me, but I'm not the only one who thinks his books are overrated.
Rachel Blom
Dec 06, 2012 Rachel Blom rated it liked it
I guess I'm just not a Leonard Sweet fan. People keep raving about this book, but I thought it was okay, definitely not great. The premise piqued my interest, but there was too much generalization and too little 'fact' to keep me hooked. For a extended review, see here:
May 03, 2012 Colleen rated it it was amazing
Wonderful compare and contrast of Gutenbergers (those who persist in modernism) and Googlers (those who are native or stretch into the wired culture). A look at what each brings to the conversation of faith, and why we need more of the latter, not less. Bonus: a whole chapter on the importance of poetry!
Nov 07, 2012 Bill rated it really liked it
Challenging, somewhat wordy, and full of great verbal illustrations. Not the easiest read, but extremely important for those who want to understand how social networking impacts the church.
May 16, 2012 Gavoweb rated it really liked it
Good stuff. If you are at all wondering how some of the generations mesh with the technology shifts and what that means for the church. This is a good one to digest.
May 17, 2012 Norbert rated it it was amazing

a helpful and practical book on the use and importance of social media today.
Ron Blake
Sep 13, 2012 Ron Blake rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!
Jobin Abraham
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Leonard I. Sweet is an author, preacher, scholar, and ordained United Methodist clergyman currently serving as the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew Theological School, in Madison, New Jersey; and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University in Portland, Oregon.
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“Can you imagine doing ministry the last five hundred years and getting away with ‘Sorry, I don’t do books’? Can you imagine doing ministry in the next five years and getting away with ‘Sorry, I don’t do Facebook’?” 10 likes
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