Could social media, such as Twitter, help to transform the church? Writing in Episcopal Life Online, Tom Ehrich says yes!
The gospel according to Twitter
From Episcopal Life Online
Imagine a Vatican more attuned to the times: no trying to hide information about sexual abuse, no self-serving denials and blame-the-media bluster, no bristling when bad news goes viral. Imagine, instead, a church that accepts transparency, engages people, speaks candidly and turns a crisis into faith formation.
Imagine a pope using social media to reach hundreds of millions of believers directly, rather than through a balky institution.
Hard to imagine? Well, it's what Jesus did. Jesus lived in the open. He didn't have iPhone apps or massive databases, but he lived transparently, allowed people to get close to him, spoke in public places, and tore down the curtains of secrecy by which religious and political elites historically keep control.
And, then there is a new survey out by "BuzzPlant" which argues that most churches are not availing themselves of social media tools:
How Churches and Their Members Use Social Media
Using Quill Pens in an Internet Age
A just released National study by BuzzPlant, a leading internet marketing firm focusing on the faith-based market segment, shows that churches across America are not taking advantage of the social networking phenomena that has revolutionized interpersonal communications in the 21st Century.
"Thousands of churches are not walking through the unprecedented number of open doors social networking has provided them," says Bob Hutchins, Owner of BuzzPlant, the Franklin, TN firm that has executed on-line campaigns for such clients as The Chronicles of Narnia movie series and developed marketing strategies for the likes of Sony, Zondervan Press, General Motors and Twentieth Century Fox. "American churches have millions of people on their rolls who do not feel connected today because churches, as a whole, have failed to effectively connect with them as the times dictate." Hutchins further likened church's languid pace of contemporary communication to a continuance to use quill pens after the advent of the printing press. "To not be proactive in wireless communications today is to not be communicating", says Hutchins.
The BuzzPlant Study entitled, "How Do People of Faith Use Social Media?", surveyed churches across the country exploring their levels of involvement in the social media explosion which is not only becoming a marketing powerhouse but the point of connectivity between people of all generations.