Monday, January 9, 2012

Social Media and the Church

With the growth of Facebook and Twitter over the past few years, the church at some point and time needs to be mindful of the relevance and opportunities presented with such outlets for their evangelism, ministry and mission.

So over the next few weeks I will be writing about Social Media in regard to a few things:
1. What are Twitter and Facebook?
2. Not your Teen's Facebook Anymore
3. Types of Tweeters or Twits
4. Proper use of Social Media (safety)
5. Public and Private Conversations
6. Pastoral Use of Social Media
7. It's All About Connecting.

1. What Are Twitter and Facebook?

They are both web platforms for connecting with others.

Twitter has followers
Facebook has friends.

If you have never used either program Facebook- 700 million users, Twitter- 70 million active users, I would encourage you to jump on and sign up for either one today.

Facebook is like your own mini-website where you can share pictures, videos and status updates on your "wall".  Your wall is where you post stuff, and where others (depending on your settings) your friends can post stuff as well.  There is also a stream of who you follow and you can see the vids, pics and status updates live of your friends.  It's a great way for friends, new and distant to connect.  You can check in and see how people are doing, and find out their interests, etc.  Our church has a facebook page which is a place where we share what is upcoming in ministry and messages.

The Pros of using Facebook include: connecting, sharing, conversation, family connections, church updates, etc.
The Cons- Be careful who your kids friend on facebook.  Watch out for old flames wanting to "reconnect" with you, especially if you are married!  Many divorces happen because cheating started on facebook.  Finally, life is meant to be lived, get off the web and live!

Those are just a few about facebook.

Now twitter.

Twitter is basically people sharing their thoughts, ideas, humor, etc 140 characters or less with whomever follows them.  Twitter is about who follows you and who you follow.  Most twitter accounts have less than 100 followers, but follow 100's.  There are churches, pastors, entrepreneurs, leaders, teachers, businesses, celebrities, politics, newspapers, media outlets, etc on twitter.  You can make lists to follow specific groups on twitter.  A few months ago I was pretty anti-twitter.  But once I jumped on, I found that I can follow people all over the world, and usually will receive news updates on twitter more quickly than tv, radio or even the web.  I personally enjoy the humor on twitter, especially during this campaign season.

I hope that helps in better understanding Facebook and Twitter.  My explanation is not exhaustive, but maybe you might be able to seen the benefit for the church and the world.  It's all about connecting, and for a church that says "We Make Disciples by Connecting People to God and Neighbor", we should as Christians and as the church, try and share that message everywhere we can.

Go in peace and go with God.

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