by Edwin L. Carpenter, Editor – The Dove Foundation
Tangle.com, is more than a Web site, its a global technology company that creates social networking tools for the faith and family-friendly market and allows members to connect and share their faith and lives through videos, photos, blogs, music and more. It was originally launched as GodTube.com, a video sharing site, and it set a record as the fastest-growing Web site in the U.S. during its first month of operation. The site attracted up to 2.7 million users a month, and tangle.com has enlarged to become the go-to Web site for the family-friendly community to interact, safely, online through a social network.
Recently Trey Bowles, the new CEO of tangle.com, took time from his busy schedule to chat with us here at The Dove Foundation. We began by asking Trey why the name change from GodTube.com to tangle.com, which was effective this past February 3, and what other changes have been made.
“There were actually several different components”, he replied. “First, a lot of our partners, churches, ministries, bands and individuals had come to us and said we really love what you’re doing from a video sharing perspective, but we want to reach people outside the church. And with a name like GodTube you’re inhibiting our ability to bring people who aren’t Christians to the site. That kind of sparked some interest on our side and we began doing quantitative and qualitative analysis and took some surveys and it turned out that everybody felt the same way. So we started to think, how can we take what we’re doing right now as a video sharing site and expand the focus a little bit more, so we can better serve our audience. Instead of having just videos, why don’t we make it a full-fledged social networking site?
“So, it was kind of transforming from the Christian version of YouTube to more of a Christian version of a Facebook, MySpace, YouTube hybrid.”
Trey and his team began work on it approximately a year ago to give people the ability to “add friends and share content, comment on prayer and on blogs, and on videos and on photos and things like that.”
When it came time to select a name Trey said, “First of all we wanted to find a name that’s a good social media name. We liked the name tangle because it showcased the idea of being intertwined and interwoven in community. Secondly, we wondered how to come up with a name that isn’t a put-off to non-believers but believers can understand it. We chose John 15:5 as the verse for the name (of the Web site), and it’s where Jesus says, ‘I am the vine and you are the branches.’
“Not only do we want people to think of tangle as a place where you’re tangled up in all that you are, but also that as a part of the body of Christ we’re all touching as hands and feet, and mouths and ears and eyes and all these different pieces. The idea of tangle was that we loved taking a word that in most people’s minds holds a negative connotation like, ‘My hair is tangled’, whatever it may be, but really changing it around and saying you know what, having your faith tangled up in all that you are whether it’s at church or at work or at home or on the internet, it’s a positive thing. That’s why our logo is kind of all connected and then we have a leaf to show the vine, but if you also look, the T is the only part of the word of the logo that’s separated out and that’s where we still can kind of showcase a little bit of the cross. We like to think of that as a Christian angle for social media.”
Trey said the audience has followed them over the move and name change and they are telling many others about it. “Our traffic is higher than it’s ever been,” he said with enthusiasm. “We monitor and approve all content before it goes up on the site” he added, and he believes this gives a secure feeling to those who want to visit a site which is deemed to be safe. “That’s how we differentiate who we are,” he said.
Trey and the staff advertised a few months in advance about the new name which was coming and explained why it was being done, and then once the site was launched they spent another month explaining why it was done so the transition would be as smooth as possible and everyone would be prepared.
“We view ourselves as a technology company,” said Trey, “not a ministry. Our job is to create a platform for ministries and churches and give them the opportunity to ask individuals to come and share their message. Our hope is that we are able to create a world-wide influence to change lives, not necessarily that we’re doing it but that we’re allowing our partners to do it.”
We were honored that tangle.com wanted The Dove Foundation to be on board and to partner with them, and we asked them to explain why they were interested in us and we hope the reasons given will encourage and benefit our Dove partners who use our Web site.
“We’ve been familiar with The Dove Foundation for years. We see The Dove Foundation’s “Family-Approved” Seal as a credible mark of something that’s appropriate. If I see that Dove Foundation logo or emblem then it takes care of any fears that I may have about a certain piece of content, so we want to associate ourselves with brands like that, that are credible, that are established, that people look to as a mark of approval.”
Trey mentioned the film Bella and our Dove Seal on that film and how he had been involved with that particular film himself. He liked the film and was pleased that Dove awarded our Seal to it as well.
“The Dove Foundation was one of the first organizations I wanted to partner with,” said Trey, “especially for our media strategy. Having that relationship and having that ability to benefit from the team that you guys have, and the experience that you have, and the knowledge and information that you’re able to provide, would not only be a wonderful added service for our community but also would be a way as we built this network people would begin to look for that Dove Foundation logo as they do already, but on a much wider basis across the entire world.”
That sounds wonderful to us here at The Dove Foundation. Trey Bowles is a dedicated and caring individual and tangle.com is proving to be an entry way to many roads which connects people with a common thread.