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Introduce the major elements of social media and some of the amazing global stats about its reach and effectiveness Emphasise the importance of being on social media – bearing in mind some of your audience will already be accomplished adopters some will be luddites who prefer tablets of stone and a chisel Pass on the information they need to set themselves up as bloggers, twitterers face book users etc – bearing in mind some are already doing it Point out the dangers and opportunities Leave them at the end of the session with competence, confidence and a burning desire to use social media
Introduce self: how much can you tell about me just from this?
These are the 2 things am most known for – my PhD (original history of KCCO) and writing this book which went to reprint after 4 months, and has been featured on BBC .. Described by Financial Times as “sensible in a sea of scare stories” .. So you’ll see my leaning towards positive use (also Brethren background)…
5 mins – what kind of things do people find in common in 60 seconds?
We are going to start by getting to know each other as if we are on Twitter …
What do many people think digital is about?
Is this your experience? Right, so we’re going to see what else we can do with this… (remember that was built in an era of ‘give it all away’, freeness, etc. and in recent years has been taken over more commercially)
In a world where it’s OK to be a Mac evangelist, but not any other kind of evangelist… seen militant supporters for/against Apple, and also for evangelism, and this is not a new thing!
What is possibly different is that we need to understand “the culture” that we are engaging with… and when I say “the culture” – we have to remember that “digital culture” is comprised of a range of systems, including email, websites, different social media platforms – each with different etiquette (like Australasia has several v different cultures within it)…
Understand it and SEE THE OPPORTUNITIES
What I really want to emphasise is that Social Media – all about RELATIONSHIPS, so this is where it’s use truly differentiates from traditional marketing (emphasise online/offline).
All too often people focus on ‘the media’, and yes, there are plenty of ‘shiny’ things that you can do on social media, but fundamentally we’re back to engaging with people…
Commonality – finding a starting point & getting to know each other, etc… with a strong focus on LISTENING to the people engaging with you, and looking for material that they might find shareable. A lot of it is based on relationship building, so that people will ‘look out for you’ and look for material to actively share on your behalf.
You’re looking to provide information, engage in dialogue, listen to your audience … build a community who will be interested in the other things that you do .. Lead by example!
If I share something on my own page – far more likely to pick up comments than if it’s on a page, so in some ways calls for a different relationship between work/personal life for those of us involved … but also recognising the difference between our personal/organisational presence, but that there’s some kind of overlap (and being clear that workers personal social media accounts really are just that … but that as in all conversation – if bring organisation into disrepute is a problem…)
So, why are we bothering with all this - we saw the Qualman video earlier with Anna, so hopefully you’re all convinced as to the need for social media, but just to emphasise the sheer amount of data heading through…
GO LIVE and watch the numbers go up…
Needs to be built into everything that you do, not a last minute afterthought… but sending a tweet once you’ve done everything else you’ve needed, rather than thinking about how it works as part of the WHOLE picture and thinking you’ve “done” social media = a problem.
Looking back at those numbers we’ll see the sheer volume going through, something like 40% of tweets are read by no-one, and Facebook’s algorithm determines what is seen, not everything you do will get seen (and certainly not the first time), so to a certain extent it is like a game of numbers – like freelancing (only get about 20% of what pitch for), or PR (where media opportunities have to be held lightly) … and, of course remembering that paper is still a valid technology for many purposes/people!
So, I want to have a look at what a number of people have said about social media – sought to get them from a range of religious spectrum, but be aware that the majority of my experience has been in the Christian and education sectors … always keen to look for commonality rather than difference, and we’re looking at people who are driven by beliefs, values and passions – and, as we said, social media is largely about the people involved – do they want to be your ambasssadors?
I wrote this piece for Durham university the week before the election on how political parties are not really getting the hang of social media, because they are NOT EMBEDDED USERS– they are still using it as a broadcast tool, top-down, and for the purposes of propaganda, rather than to truly engage with the electorate.
This was partly drawn from my experience of discussing how churches can reach out – and many are using digital technology/social media in similar ways – and that churches are organisations would probably do better to concentrate their efforts on ensuring that the content that their congregations want to share is easy to find/accessible, so that the congregation members (of whatever age), who are the ‘NETWORKS OF NETWORKS’ can share that content…
As the church has previously sought to understand overseas cultures, for the purposes of both discipleship and mission, so now it seeks to engage with digital culture – a space where many spend a considerable amount of time daily. (previous) Pope Benedict XVI put it this way (2013): [quote]
The Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 9:22-23) was mission-centric, respecting and adapting to the culture in which he found himself, rather than imposing himself upon it.
Article has more information about religious authority (definitely something that is being studied by sociologists of religion – where is the authority online, how do people know they are listening to an expert or someone a little unhinged?), issuing Fatwas, and the most influential figures on Twitter, etc. in 2013 …
Think it’s also worth picking up on this negative side of what’s going on (I spend a lot of time encouraging individuals to be what Christians would call salt & light in social media – how can we do something distinctively different, and not necessarily be shaped by media – just because it’s short and fast, and seems to be either/or, doesn’t mean we have to respond in that way…
Ruth’s comment yesterday re the binaries – how do we ensure that there are other conversations in there … that there is good material to find, and not just those of doctrinal difference…
… this is also particularly significant for religious organisations – it moves it from focus on face-to-face meetings to encompass all forms of communication – living lives day by day alongside each other, bigger expectations of response times from organisations, changes the type of conversations – important to think if do this, if have a (church) website that it includes more than “we meet 630pm on a Sunday – we also meet on social media”.
Which brings us neatly to this quote .. The tendency at the moment is to measure so much of what happens on social media against what we are used to (Henry Ford – if asked people what they wanted, would have said faster horses), rather than on its own terms…
Think about notions of presence … is it about quality or quantity of presence? If you’re not going to do this wholeheartedly, where is the value? Have you got good relationships with people, so that they will be ‘quality’ ambassadors, actively looking out for material from your sites… looking for ways to use it and incorporate in what you’re doing…
What I really want you to think about is what happens if you are NOT present? What do people hear then – it’s not your voices, it’s those of extremists.. Etc.
So, there’s the obvious – as an advertising platform, let people know what’s going on, what you stand for, etc.. Including making social media part of the mix, rather than as an add on…
Typically, when I first worked with websites, they focused on echoing an organisational structure, but people coming to your site want to get in/out, so you need to think about what they are coming for – are they a visitor, looking for some history, a regular, someone looking for an occasion – and think how you will help those people quickly find what they need on your site.
Gov.UK managed to do this with the entire UK site – not particularly pretty, but it’s “clean” and much easier to find everything – but someone had to ask all those questions about audience and then do the structural work.
TAKE SOME TIME to think about What keywords are people going to be searching for you for … make a list…doesn’t have to be definitive – keep working on it… note ‘the long tail’… create personas…
First thing when Facebook came out was the suggestion of ‘Faithbook’, but how far do we need to be separate & how far integrated – where do we challenge, and where is there a reason for something separate?
Thinking through how things have changed – we don’t PUSH the message at people – we seek to be intriguing and draw them in… with good stories…
How many of these tools have you used? This is latest version (2015, I think) which indicates it focuses particularly upon those that are ‘on the road to mainstream acceptance’.
Scary – so many, or encouraging as you clearly can’t use them all, so think about what you need to do, and which tools might fit that…
Am going to give you an overview of how it’s been used within the Christian perspective, and I think you’ll start to see how you also can use.. And remember much of this is being accessed via mobile devices, on the move, so make sure it’s been tested on phones/tablets …
So, remembering this quote…
Don’t forget = it’s PUBLIC, PUBLIC! People also react fast, so need to be prepared for the responses…
More humourous – but makes such a nice change from “dour” impression of those in faith– have to jump in relatively quickly.. E.g. “I know what you did last Synod”, “Lost in Transubstantiation”, “The Bourne Again Identity”, “Some parishes do ‘ave ‘em”, etc.
Can use hashtags more seriously to create conversation around an event … show a couple of clever ways that it’s been used.
Really want to ensure understand the difference between pages/groups/events and how might use effectively …
Basics of all – FB strong on being a ‘personal account’ and doesn’t allow duplicate a/cs – may get away with it but if they decide – can shut both down… mention pastoral care here?
People can also FOLLOW you – what is your public material saying about you/about your faith? A quote often share at Christian events. Lifestyle = includes online!
Important in our thinking on this is the notion that we are talking about ‘online/offline’, not ‘virtual’real’ … relationships online have a different nature, but they are as valid and real as offline relationships, and for many the edges are entirely blurred as conversations online in between face-to-face meets change the nature of offline conversations (sometimes allowing for deeper conversations in either space)…
Share messages via walls – see here can add location, photos, emoticons and choose who to share with, etc…
Remember that you may be FB friends with congregation – how does that change the kind of things that you might write/share? What about sharing the stories of those around you – these are POWERFUL, but permissions…
Note the PUBLIC NATURE of your roles - Pete Broadbent, the guy who was like ‘ooof- a sermon tomorrow’, etc., people will look to you for examples (think about Habitat as a bad example)
This is like a noticeboard – suitable for external facing content – also note FB algorithms so ‘paid’ options mean might not be seen that much – need to encourage group to be active (constant, relevant material)… consider paying?
Idea re Humans of Faith (like Humans of New York), learning from what have done with The Big Bible Project
How much can we find out about people – how many people can we reach – not the hugest of numbers, but think compared to average congregation… is a bit of a game of numbers..
Makes it easier to ‘leave’ the group behind once move onto a new church – are various schools of thought about being friends with congregation = part of whole-life sharing, etc. but also once you move on/or they move on – how helpful is it to keep in contact?
Tea & Toast – serving a real need – ended up gaining new members of the church – online/offline mix… suitable for mums & toddlers & 20s & 30s, etc. (note that those who are younger are probably more likely to be on Instagram, Whatsapp, Snapchat – pictures/personal & private messages…
Large group – difficult to control – does that mean don’t do it – see the high ranking given to behaviour – as I understand it Meth church keeps an eye but doesn’t “own” it…
This is more of a form of advertising – rather than representative of who was actually coming…
Most obvious use – children/youth activities - rich term - http://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=youth%20work%20ideas - are clearly used to share religious texts frequently also…
Image focused (be aware of children’s privacy) – gives a sense of what ‘really happens’ inside these services, or inside your offices …. Need to take time to think about what going to share! http://www.stevefogg.com/2013/11/28/instagram-video-church/
Mo need for BBC production values
In Christian circles will be the notion of “always be prepared to respond with gentleness and respect” – all part of “Being yourself”
Across social media platforms:
What are your values? What do you stand for? What is your ‘tone of voice’? What can you contribute to the conversation? Locally? Nationally? Globally? What are you missing if you don’t contribute to the conversation? Are not understanding what people are using now? E.g. I need to get up to speed on Kik…
Whatsapp/Texting = have a place, and more of a personal feel, also groups for Whatsapp – children using it extensively
*Remember also – mobile access to these sites – are these responsive/accessible?
Importance of online/offline
Always remember that there is a human being at the other end of the keyboard - each uniquely created by God… and as is noted by many communicators is not what you’ve said, but what others have ‘heard’ … not everyone receives the message that you send in the same way .. And one message definitely doesn’t fit all… we’re in the world of what is described as “the long tail”, where rather than being able to send out a mass message, we have to have more concern with individuals – Google searches for ‘niches’ (small keywords/multiple entry points, etc.) HALT (Hungry, angry, lonely, tired)
Think before you post … does this truly represent what you want the business to say, and if you are doing this personally, how might this reflect (well/negatively) on the business // HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired).
Flood the internet with content!
The person with the passion for it, the good communicator – the driving instructor, rather than the mechanic – the communicator rather than the computer geek…. But easier if support from others (E.g. tsk if using in church!)
Remember what we said about LISTENING towards the beginning = important for this not to be about our own egos – are we treating the sacred texts with appropriate respect? What is the PURPOSE we are doing this for?
Love this idea – 60 voices in 60 minutes!
Project been working on since 2010 – currently being re-designed, but importance of content – from a range of voices from across the Christian spectrum ..
This is designed to deal with a crisis – but is useful in all situations – you need time to agree your ‘voice’ – what kind of stories to share, when, and who has responsibility for it .. An get stuff out in a timely manner - and think how you’re going to deal if someone gets run over/on hols/off sick, etc… nothing worse than ‘the enthusiast’ leaving and having a big blank space…
Take this with a pinch of salt – find out what works for your particular audience!!
If you’re doing blog posts (I suggest WordPress), have a calendar plan with signficant dates, etc…
Timesaver… but don’t forget to check back in …
… and don’t forget the cat.
Reminder of the big questions so far as I’m concerned…
What does an efficient and market-responsible social media strategy look like for our different business areas for 6 months; 12 months; 3 years?
BACK to the content, as the platforms may change … and more and more social media interactions cost ££ - decide if prepared to pay for e.g. Facebook advertising, Twitter promoted tweets, etc. or is it all relationships for “free”?
Final word – remember – there is always a human being at the other end of the keyboard… think before you type…
Social Media and Faith Organisations
SOCIAL MEDIA AND
Dr Bex Lewis (@drbexl)
Director, Digital Fingerprint
Research Fellow in Social Media and Online Learning,
CODEC Centre for Digital Theology, Durham University
June 2015 for Coexist, St George’s, Windsor
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International
• Social Media Exercise
• Social Media
• A Digital Marketing
Social Media: More than
the cherry on the cake!
• As indicated in my book, Raising Children in a Digital Age,
although children aren’t ‘digital natives’ who are ‘fundamentally
different from us’, they have grown up in a time when the digital
is an embedded part of their everyday life.
• Most politicians are clearly not using social media in an
embedded way, but as a digital marketing tool, and this is seen
as inauthentic. We need to look at the underlying culture and
assess whether traits such as collaboration, innovation,
transparency, and openness belong solely to the younger
generation. Reports such as the Ipsos MORI Who is
Generation Next? have indicated what the concerns of the
younger generation are, and what they might expect from their
• Young people want to know that they are being listened to, that
their voices count, and that they are not being patronised.
The digital environment is not a parallel or purely virtual
world, but is part of the daily experience of many people,
especially the young. Social networks are the result of
human interaction, but for their part they also reshape the
dynamics of communication, which builds relationships: a
considered understanding of this environment is
therefore a prerequisite for a significant presence
Pope Benedict XVI (2013)
Increasingly, young Arab Muslims
are asking questions from people
they identify as religious authorities
through Facebook, Twitter and
other internet social media
Dr H.A. Hellyer
Associate fellow at the Royal United Services
Institute, Non-resident Fellow at the Brookings
Institution and Research Associate at Harvard
It has always been two Jews, three
opinions. But we are in a world,
unfortunately, where people take sides
too strongly and have forgotten the
grain in the middle. … It has created a
Associate Executive director of the Jewish
Federation of Greater Kansas city
Social media becomes an important
way to connect and make your religious
experience a 24/7 experience rather
than something you do on the
Heidi Campbell , Asst. Professor of
Communications, Texas A&M University
Author of Digital Religion, Routledge 2012
Even though in practice, face-to-face
communication can, of course, be
angry, negligent, resistant, deceitful and
inflexible, somehow it remains the ideal
against which mediated communication
is judged as flawed.
Prof Sonia Livingstone, Children and the
Internet: Great Expectations and Challenging
Realities. 2009, p26
"If you want to build a presence in the social
media platform, then you need to be
The Front Door?
With literally billions in the digital
spaces, the online social spaces
presented by churches need to
be appealing, welcoming, and
not look like they are just an
afterthought: they are now
effectively the ‘front door’ to
your church for digital users,
and you ignore those spaces
at your peril.
http://www.churchgrowthrd.org.uk/blog/churchgrowth/growing_churches_in_the_digital_age Image Credit: Sxc.hu
• Educational Level?
• What are they searching for?
• How can you make it easier for them to find?
• How can you make it easy for them to want to
In the last few years, numerous Jewish
Social networks have emerged.
Most have never gain traction. A few are
household terms. While I believe the
future of Jewish community leadership
will require social web applications, I
think we need to review what’s worked,
hasn’t worked, and what’s possible.
Twitter in Ministry
If you don’t know how to use Twitter, check
“Twitter brings you
closer to the things
you are passionate
about - and for
millions of people
across the globe that
It’s good for…
• New connections via shared
• Building your “brand”
• Pre/During/Post Event Conversations
• Breaking news
• Asking questions
• Sharing good resources
• Sharing pithy statements/quotes
• Being “polemical”
The greatest single cause of atheism in the
world today is Christians who acknowledge
Jesus with their lips and walk out the
door and deny him by their life style. That
is what an unbelieving world simply finds
YouTube in Ministry
If you don’t know how to use YouTube, check
Simple ideas for Video:
• Think of the STORIES you have to
tell, and how you might tell them –
• Events: Before/After
• Sermons: Quick Overviews/Responses
• People & Their Lives
• Creative storytelling
• What can you “How To”?
• ‘Remote’ training within
A few thoughts on content:
• Identify keywords &
• Repurpose existing
• Not just words: visual,
• Define a ‘voice’ for the
• Repeat content
‘differently’ (but not too
at machines, not
Image Source: Stockfresh
Who sees this?
“It’s all about me”
It then dawned on me, that many people
were using Hadiths and other
wise quotes merely for the sake of
getting more likes, retweets, ‘friends’ and
followers. By design, social media has all
the right instruments to be the ultimate
mechanism to feed your ego. (I do
acknowledge that this is NOT the case for
New Ways of “Doing”
In a Crisis?
Don’t overthink. Running through
committees, endless drafts and approval
processes to get a response out there
can cause far more damage than good.
As long as you have taken the time to
assess the situation and can take a
rational, respectful tone in your
response, even an awkward response is
OK to start with, and buys you time to
continue to respond to the problem.