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Church social media as Sunday-to-Sunday ‘connective tissue’

Church social media as Sunday-to-Sunday ‘connective tissue’

Elizabeth Drescher’s name (and recent book Tweet if you (Heart) Jesus: Practicing Church in the Digital Reformation) seem to keep coming up a lot lately. Recently, in conversation with the question of how churches might more effectively be using their digital presences, she says,

The church shouldn’t be trying to sell a product or retain a customer with social media. If your measure of success is how many people are coming to your Facebook page, or how many people follow you on Twitter, that’s not necessarily a sign that you’re engaging people on a spiritual level.

Which I might amend only slightly:

If your measure of success is how many people are coming to your Facebook page, or how many people follow you on Twitter, that’s not necessarily a sign that you’re engaging people on a spiritual level.

How so?

“Social media becomes the connective tissue from one Sunday to the next,” [Drescher] said.

Implying that a huge variety of elements in the life of the congregation can be carried in those transmissions: news and events, yes, but also learnings, prayers, scripture, and deepened relationships.

That’s how [pastor Earle] Fisher, also a college professor, tries to use Facebook and Twitter.

“We’re not always in the field,” Fisher said. “A lot of us don’t have time to get out and meet everyone and shake hands with them,” he said. “It’s no substitute for one-on-one connections, but it does seem to help.”

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MeredithGould

Laura, et.al.,

You might be interested and are most welcome to participate in the weekly tweetchat focused completely on church social media. It's on Tuesdays at 9:00 PM (EDT). You can find more information by clicking on the link provided with my name.

In between chats, people use #chsocm to tag content and conversation about church social media. This ecumenical community of participants (with very strong Episcopal presence and participation) is growing every week -- teaching and learning how to use social media wisely and well.

Full disclosure: I'm the founder and moderator, although we will have guest moderators starting soon.

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John D. Andrews

It seems to me that for social media to be effective, the priest must buy in to using it. If the priest sees the church as being primarily the Sunday service and the Eucharist, and not taking the church out into the community, social media will not be effective. In fact, it will not be well utilized, and eventually it will fall to the wayside; it will be a lost opportunity to build knowledge and community.

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Jim Naughton

Excellent point, Laura. There is a good example in Elizabeth's book about a priest who uses Facebook in the way that you describe.

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LKT

One of the really valuable things for church leaders in getting involved in social media is that you can be aware of people's needs and daily lives in a way you might not otherwise. It's not just about what the churches can announce, but what they can now hear if they choose to listen. That's one place where the spirituality of Facebook and Twitter is for me.

Laura Toepfer

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