Growing up, I did lyrics projection at my church. While I’m sure most of you are familiar with PowerPoint, there’s actually a cottage industry of software expressly catering to churches. Songshow Plus was one of the more popular titles for the task, with EasyWorship having its fans. Songbase and Sunday Plus had their niche fans, and it wasn’t long before ProPresenter gave everyone a run for their money.
But my allegiance was with Mediashout. It was an absolutely fantastic piece of software all around – easy to pick up for runners, while having plenty of buttons and knobs for people like me who enjoyed customizing scripts and slides to perfection. I started on version 2.5, then 3 was a massive improvement, and even 3.5 was a model service pack. The v4 interface took a little time to grow on me, but it ultimately was the peak. V5 regressed a bit with its removal of text labels and less-customizable layout, while v6 and v7 were total overhauls that seemed to focus on users of PowerPoint and ProPresenter at the expense of seasoned Mediashout veterans like myself. Seeing three consecutive regressions in usability, I decided to reach out and ask if I could buy a license for an older version. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that it didn’t go well. I have fond memories of the glory days of Mediashout, but my inability to procure the good version has left me in a strange state of mind.
I should have no problem getting a copy of ProPresenter. But I can’t bring myself to do it. I got in countless forum battles with the ProPresenter users back in the day; getting a license is the ultimate admission of defeat…besides, if I wanted their Fisher Price UI centered around simplicity instead of raw power, that’s what my complaint is with the current version of Mediashout is, right? So, why wouldn’t I just get Mediashout?
I could get Songbase…it’s ancient, but that means it’s tightly coded and super stable, no doubt…right? Songshow is still solid and keeps its super powerful UI that still has a few niche functions Mediashout never got, so I should get that one! If I’m going to give up on Mediashout, shouldn’t I do so using a program that I would consider to be better?
Or…or…or…let’s take a bunch of steps back and ask some more fundamental questions…for example, why do I even care? I haven’t been in charge of projecting lyrics in nearly a decade. I don’t project lyrics personally…or much of anything else, for that matter. I don’t get up in front of audiences to give keynote addresses, and the handful I’ve done over the past five years, I’ve been served just fine with PowerPoint. …and even if I found myself in a scenario where I was going to do lyrics projection or even a video-centric presentation, the free, open source, cross-platform OpenLP is rock solid, effective, free, and wasn’t even close to being an option back in the year 2000 when i started.
There is clearly no reason whatsoever for me to consider buying or using any of these things…but I find myself loyal to Mediashout for no rational reason, nor for my own benefit, nor for the benefit of anyone around me. That’s not the sort of loyalty worth having. That’s not the sort of loyalty worth retaining. And it’s certainly not the sort of loyalty worth spending money to validate. It is tribalism. I am, apparently, from the tribe of Mediashout….and if there has ever been a sentence warranting introspection, it’s that one. It’s so depressing, it’s comical that I let my affinity for a software program I haven’t used in a decade live rent free in my head like this.
I’m leaving that tribe. If you’re in a tribe of some kind, make sure it’s a tribe you really want to be in.I’ll tell you this much: my tribe won’t miss me.