SG’s Evolving Internet Presence

After NQC, Tony Greene’s passing, SN Fan Awards, the Dills concert, and doing the Crist Family CD review, in addition to my regularly scheduled life, I have to admit I was a bit worn out, so thanks for understanding my couple days of silence.  I needed a couple of days to refresh myself.

I’ve been doing some reflecting over how the SG internet presence has changed over the years.  The rise of the internet coincided with my entrance into college in the mid ’90s, so I have been here pretty much since the beginning.  When I first started college, the only real web page (and that was mostly text based) was the Singing News.  The SN had an email list that at first was primarily aimed at artists and other industry related folks, not so much for the general fan.  I got in on the tail end of this list, as I was invited to join after I started my Gold City page.  Soon after that, the SN opened up the list to fans, and it started to grow much quicker.

As text based browsing began to give way to graphically enhanced pages, with the rise of the Netscape browser and PPP/SLIP accounts, as well as the rise of AOL, eventually the email list died off and gave way to web sites and chat rooms.  The finest SG chat room was run by Harold Timmons at his Memory Lane Gospel site.  I started chatting there within the first week or so it opened, and that room was a great place to be for several years.  It grew to the point that for a 3 or 4 year span, they had formal luncheons on Saturday at NQC.  I performed for the luncheon in 1998, getting to share the stage with groups like the Dove Brothers, 3 for 1, Marcia Henry and Latter Rain, and the Rabbit Easter Band.

While chat rooms are still around (DBM just announced the start of one here), their popularity eventually fizzled and gave way to message boards.  When it comes to message boards, there are/were two that always stood out to me in the beginning: and  These two boards were the pioneers (pun intended of course, as SGLovers was run by the Pioneers Quartet from GA primarily) of SG message boards.  Message boards today are still pretty popular, though their usage levels are not nearly as high as they once were.  Daniel Mount started a great board with his site, and it is probably the most widely used board currently, along with’s boards, which are still up and running.

Not too long after message boards took off, a new phenomenon also came into the SG web world: blogs.  DBM’s Musicscribe and the now infamous Averyfineline were the first to really make an impact, with Daniel Mount’s SouthernGospelBlog not far behind.  Yours truly was a relative late-comer to the scene.

While blogs continue to be fairly popular and oft-read, in the past couple years a new phenomenon has swelled in SG internet circles: social networking.  Most artists, labels, and even news sites and blogs now have a presence on Facebook, and singers, industry folks, and even bloggers can be found tweeting away on Twitter.  I initially resisted the social networking movement, and still haven’t set up a Facebook page for the blog specifically, but as those of you who are friends with me on Facebook know, all my blog posts are also posted to my Facebook wall.  I also signed up for two Twitter accounts a while back, one for the blog, and a personal one as well.  While the names and specific sites may change, these networks are here to stay.

So where is this all headed?  Currently we seem to use the social networking sites to develop relationships between industry and fan, and to follow late breaking headlines.  Blogs such as this one are primarily used to provide commentary and reviews, while artist sites are places to find concert events, and order product.  Will this trend continue for the foreseeable future, or can you see the next step in SG internet evolution?


About Wes Burke
I'm a .NET developer and Southern Gospel music fan. Married with a wonderful family.

10 Responses to SG’s Evolving Internet Presence

  1. natesings says:

    I remember the Singing News had a BBS. Wasn’t much to it. Basically a message board that you got to by dialing a particular number with your modem. It only had a one or a few lines at the most so only that number of people could get on it at the same time.

  2. I don’t know what the next trend is, but I sure hope to be there!

    I’m honored at the mention re: blogging – but I think DBM and Avery had both been going for 2+ years by the time I started in 2006.

  3. Good summary. You failed to mention the internet interaction center that was, prior to Averyfineline, the most controversial forum in Southern Gospel Music.

    I participated for a number of years at a Usent forum called This forum was un-moderated, so anyone could and did say anything. Like most un-moderated groups, it eventually gave way to moderated forums online. It was still functioning the last time I checked. There was a concert promoter from Nebraska who pretty much put the final nail in the coffin with his spamming (though technically “on-topic”), at least for me.

    There were also a few irc chat rooms, in addition to the one operated by Harold Timmons. I took part in one called SGMchat regularly.

  4. burkesbrainwork says:

    Thanks David, I never got into the usenet groups. I remember seeing it mentioned from time to time, but I just never signed up. Of course, the post wasn’t meant to be a comprehensive history, that’d take up a LOT more space. 🙂

  5. DJPhil says:

    Wow! Just think, we would have missed all this if Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet!!! LOL

  6. quartet-man says:

    It is interesting to look at the old Singing News pages as I have only been online 10 years and even then I wasn’t on Singing News.*/

  7. As for what may be next, I think the sort of thing Dan Keeton is doing streaming his concerts live will become more commonplace, and fans will follow. Everyone has a webcam now, but it’s more the exception than the rule.

  8. er…that didn’t make sense. Everyone has a webcam now, but USING them regularly is still more of an exception than the rule when it comes to interacting with other people on the internet.

  9. Pingback: Another Post of the Day: SG eHistory 101 |

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