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Intro to Social Media for Christian Ministry Workshop @RevEverett

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Perhaps you have tried setting up a Facebook page for your church or other religious community and haven’t seen much of a response. Or perhaps you want the community to use social media and don’t …

Perhaps you have tried setting up a Facebook page for your church or other religious community and haven’t seen much of a response. Or perhaps you want the community to use social media and don’t know where to start. This workshop will explain some of the tools religious communities use and help us think about how people of faith can communicate with each other and others through social media. We will explore the differences between broadcast media and social media, help participants become familiar with different social media tools, discuss best practices for pastoral leaders online, and assist in crafting a digital media strategy for your community. This workshop is appropriate for all levels of familiarity with social media.


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  • My 4 Goals for this time: 1. make a theological case for social media for the work of Christian Unity. 2. Bring us all to a basic level of understanding of the tools available and what we can use for ecumenical digital ministry (start with Facebook). 3. That this time will be fruitful for your ministry as we transition to new types of authority in the Church. 4. Begin to formulate a Social Media Plan for your congregation on Facebook.
  • This image is iconic for me. Monday night of the Boston Marathon Bombing, front page of Boston.com. MCC role is to amplify the reconciling work of local churches, individuals and denominations. Links directly to the MCC’s Facebook page.
  • Earlier in the day, we asked churches to write in with their plans for ecumenical and interfaith prayer vigils. I had been tweeting out service locations under the hashtag #prayforboston. We were the trusted source for news. And when the news isn’t covering us, we become the news media. We are learning to be quick and flexible. We are learning a curious combination of digital ministry and incarnate experiences. We are learning to gather, curate and amplify the reconciling work of local churches and denominations, not necessarily to create the program ourselves. Deeply grateful for all who witness to the best of our tradition during this long, complex period. I am very proud of our ministry in these days.
  • After teaching digital ministry a few times, realize the divisions of the Church are not just denominational or racial, but on this topic often generational and/or digital (not always the same thing- figured this out when I was “friended “ by one of my 82 yr old Board members. As we learn together we have the chance to heal the divisions of the body of Christ here too. Establish first that we are going to learn together without judgment about who is ahead and who is behind. Like Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch, we are all going in the same direction together. Let’s sit side by side to look at the road ahead and try to learn together. Some know more than others. Wisdom to share. Not unlike the controversies of the early church- no judgment from “digital natives” about the new converts.
  • Ask for Name, title,where you live and First thing you read this morning. Write on wipe board or paper
  • Divide list of “first read this am” into Broadcast Media and Social Media.
  • This is a paradigm shift. Not just about the tools of how we communicate, but the very nature of authority. ASK:What do you notice about these two images of communication? Broadcast media- highly centralized. Social Media- decentralized. Oversimplification, but this is part of the reason why established institutions are having such a hard time adapting to social media. Social media by definition removed the centralized, controlling function for the flow of information that institutions and authority figures once held. Instead with social media, authority is gained not necessarily by title or position, but by authenticity, wisdom and relevancy.
  • Fast- don’t read out loud. Early Church was highly networked.“Networking: A feature of thriving communities” by C. Kavin Rowe http://www.faithandleadership.com/content/networking-feature-thriving-communities
  • Asocial network map of the relationships in the New Testament. It’s done by the folks at theEnglish Standard Version Bible.http://www.crossway.org/blog/2007/01/mapping.nt.social.networks/Especially for Middle-Level Judicatories, we are trying to build this network among our churches. This is about our polity and our parishes!
  • Already outdated: Currently 1,000,000,000 active Facebook users.So Body of Christ has always been highly networked, and often decentralized. But why bother to learn the new dynamics and language of Social Media? Facebook by the numbers, would be the third largest country behind China and India. Imagine our missionary predecessors saying, eh we don’t need to learn this language? Especially important for demographics you want to see in Church: “blacks (69%), Hispanics (66%), and whites (63%) participate at comparable levels in social media sites” C2S
  • There are very real class and access divides with social media- people who don’t have regular or reliable access to computers, fast internet connections. But it can a common space if you chose to treat it as such. Especially with Twitter, where the bar to “follow” someone is much lower- I listen in on conversations that a number of black feminist theologians are having amongst themselves, but in a public space.
  • Facebook by the numbers, would be the third largest country behind China and India. Like our missionary predecessors saying you know let’s not translate the Bible into their language. Let’s not learn to communicate with these people.
  • http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/social-media-user-demographics_b38095Pew Research Centre 2013
  • http://www.cpx.cts.edu/newmedia/findings/case-studies/house-for-all-sinners-and-saints/article
  • Digital Ministry- How we practice digital ministry and use social ministry to share the love of Christ and build up the ChurchLearn some tools and skills. Digital ministry as MINISTRY! All the best practices for our in-person interactions apply here too. Confidentiality, boundaries, generosity of spirit, etc.
  • Many social media platforms: Focus on the platform that works best for your ministry. Prioritize. Like learning a new language. Figure out how to order coffee and find the bathroom first before start reading Cervantes
  • These are the major social media tools that work best for my ministry now. I have another workshop where we learn a bit about each of these, but today we’re just going to focus on Facebook for your ministry. My next area of growth is YouTube. YouTube 3rd most popular Search engine behind Google and FacebookGoal today is to get everyone on the same page- same knowledge basis. Some of this may be redundant, some new- ask for your patience to get all 5 of you with a same knowledge base. Awful truth is that you learn by doing it. Use it. Experiment. It’s a surprisingly forgiving medium. This is hard for institutions, but credibility comes not from our titles, but our authenticity and engagement. Think of it as a spiritual discipline, like building up muscles. Gotta practice.
  • Far and away, prioritize learning digital ministry of Facebook. In this day, not having an active church Facebook page is like not having a front door. Cuts across age groups. Not just about setting up your Facebook page ( or your council’s FB page) and walking away. ALSO, not about outsourcing it to someone else/some other staffer. Social media trades on authenticity. For social media to be social, it has to be dynamic (not broadcast). Also, each of us serves as an additional node on the social media map- communicate to a different network of people.
  • Facebook:
  • Example of an organizational page, including at right Facebook trying to sell us an ad.
  • Example of Facebook News Feed: St. Demetrios Weston has had a live video feed on the ongoing construction of their new church building
  • Facebook profile of an individual- especially for clergy, make sure there’s something there to grab on to beyond your priestly identity
  • #MuslimRagehashtag initiated by Newsweek, but picked up my others to counter the offensive images. Most “Retweeted” on Sept 17? “I’m having such a good hair day. No one even knows. # MuslimRage” As Reza Aslan said:
  • Allow s you to tell a story about where you spend your time.
  • From a recent blog post on RevEverett.com- think this may be the post most often re-bloggedMy favorite neighborhood restaurant is VeeVee. They serve locally-sourced food in a cosy space. They deliver by bicycle. Inside, they’ve added a new sign:.“Like VeeVee? Help spread the word to your friends by checking in on Facebook or Foursquare. Thanks!”And so I did,  posting a photo of my tasty meal. I visit a lot of churches, more churches than restaurants. I’ve yet to see a sign like this in a church.“Checking in” with social media allows us to narrate where we spend our time, talent, and treasure. Every Sunday, we boldly invite our people to give generously to further our common ministry. Post a small sign like this or a note in the bulletin asking the same. As VeeVee said, “Help spread the word to your friends.” Invite our people to check in.
  • Just started blogging in January 2012- so still developing a rhythm. Start with what you’ve already got- don’t set a huge lofty goal to create new content. Sermon text and newsletter paragraphs to begin with until you’re ready to develop some original content
  • http://diydenominations.tumblr.com/Who do you say you are? Christian denominational labels often don't capture all of our religious history or beliefs. When folks visit the Massachusetts Council of Churches, we're inviting them to define their own denominational identity. Come visit 14 Beacon St #416 in Boston!Post photos & quotes;44% of Americans “now profess a religious rather affiliation that is different from the religion in which they were raised.The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Lifehttp://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/report-religious-landscape-study-chapter-2.pdf
  • http://reveverett.tumblr.com/Mostly using this to ‘dump’ somewhere online photos that I take with my smartphone from instagram (just a smartphone ap, no online content)Try to tell a beautiful & true story about catching glimpses of the holy
  • Heavy traffic for sharing inspirational quotes
  • Personal pinterest page on a mobile phone- Not really using for my ministry yet, but trying to tell a story about a creative life. New shelves and canisters on right. Best use? Brothers of Society of St. John the Evangelist using Pinterest for an online advent calendar
  • Instagram profile page
  • Instagram photo: gives location where photo was taken at Trinity Church Boston rectory, hashtags make the photo searchable.
  • I think of us as curators: What is it that our audience want to hear. This is a great example of a story we like to share: it’s trendspotting- we’ve seen more congregational gardens. It connects us to the wider church. It’s an event held by our colleagues at the National Council of Churches. It helps promote vital, innovative congregational life
  • Curators, editors, NOT simply pass-through. Colleague who’s organization FB page reads like a direct stream from the Huffington Post’s religion page- many posts unrelated to the organization’s core mission.
  • In this post, we took an interesting story from the Lutherans and connected it to the Methodist event on the same day. Tagging people and organizations is a great way to get them interested in what you are posting as well
  • When you’re tapped out on some other project, take a bit of time to play around in photoshop or gimp to create some original content. Timing, relevant.
  • Without fail, every time on Facebook and twitter I ask “for whom shall we pray?” I get responses. Without fail.
  • MAGIC Ration of 2:1.(btw) Great example of a local church sharing a joyful, evocative photo of their communal life. People like photos.\
  • Tell story of 1976 photo and prayerbook, connecting across generations
  • 250 Million photos are uploaded daily
  • We are in an era of massive change around the social norms of technology and religious leadership. The day after this event, I got an angry email from a pastor who thought I was being disrespectful during the Climate Revival. She saw me using my phone, said I was texting, not paying attention, disrespecting heads of the UCC & Episcopal Church. Never mind that Bishop Kneesley didn’t get the same email. I ran the stats on the twitter hashtag afterwards?
  • Who are the 8 people the pope follows on twitter? Himself in other languages. Even his Latin account has 181m. Pontifex- 3.1m on English account. 10m total. Katy Perry 46.5m, Justin Bieber 46.5 m, Gaga 40m.
  • Cory Booker, followed by 1.4m. Highly interactive. Amanda Palmer, punk rocker, followed by 1m. On April 20, 2012, Palmer announced on her blog[37] that she launched a new album pre-order on Kickstarter.[38] The Kickstarter project was ultimately supported by 24,883 backers for a grand total of $1,192,793[39] — at the time, the most funds ever raised for a musical project on Kickstarter.[40] The album, Theatre Is Evil, was recorded with The Grand Theft Orchestra, produced byJohnCongleton, and released in September 2012.[41]wed by 1.5million people. Punk Rocker, Amanda Planer- Highly interactive with fans, 1m followers
  • On April 20, 2012, Palmer announced on her blog[37] that she launched a new album pre-order on Kickstarter.[38] The Kickstarter project was ultimately supported by 24,883 backers for a grand total of $1,192,793[39] — at the time, the most funds ever raised for a musical project on Kickstarter.[40] The album, Theatre Is Evil, was recorded with The Grand Theft Orchestra, produced byJohnCongleton, and released in September 2012.[41]wed by 1.5million people. Punk Rocker, Amanda Planer- Highly interactive with fans, 1m followers
  • DO NOT tweet when angry.
  • Connecting to Stealfinder on Instagram first by #Hastag
  • http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/blogs/diyboston/2013/10/maker_moment_crafting_to_build_community_with_pastor_lobbyist_and_bike-commuting_yogi_reverend_laura.html
  • Pontifex- 3.1m on English account
  • Ecumenical inspirational storiesCongregational resources/best practicesNews from member denominations(have fred email worksheet.
  • Do NOT think of this as ‘ecumenical reception’ document comes down from NYC or Geneva. Must be interactive?
  • Spend the most time listening, lurking. Listen to the stories people tell about themselves. Pastor to that. Do not use as broadcast. Engage. Learned the most about how other people perceive themselves from watching the newsfeed- goal of any judicatory to attend to the churches.
  • Spend the most time listening, lurking. Listen to the stories people tell about themselves. Pastor to that. Do not use as broadcast. Engage. Learned the most about how other people perceive themselves from watching the newsfeed- goal of any judicatory to attend to the churches.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Tools & Skills for Digital Ministry #MassChurches Episcopal Diocese of Western MA Church of the Atonement, Westfield Tuesday Nov 5, 2013 Rev. Laura Everett Massachusetts Council of Churches @RevEverett & www.RevEverett.com
    • 2. Boston.com Screen-Grab Monday April 15, 2013 10:50pm #MassChurches
    • 3. MCC Facebook Monday April 15, 2013 4:43pm #MassChurches
    • 4. Learning as sitting side by side ”29Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over to this chariot and join it.’ 30So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ 31He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him.” ~ Acts 8: 29-32
    • 5. What was the first thing you read this morning? • Broadcast Media • Social Media
    • 6. Broadcast Media vs. Social Media Broadcast Media • Static • Concrete • Authoritative • Single Direction Social Media • Evolving • Mutable • Participatory • Multi-directional Examples: Newspaper Newsletter Examples: Facebook Post Twitter feed
    • 7. Broadcast Media vs. Social Media
    • 8. The Networked Church Acts 14: 19-28 But Jews came there from Antioch and Iconium and won over the crowds. Then they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples surrounded him, he got up and went into the city. The next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, then on to Iconium and Antioch. There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, ‘It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.’ And after they had appointed elders for them in each church, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe. Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. When they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had completed. When they arrived, they called the church together and related all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles. And they stayed there with the disciples for some time.
    • 9. People’s
    • 10. Possibilities for Ecumenical Ministry “Blacks (69%), Hispanics (66%), and whites (63%) participate at comparable levels in social media sites” ~Click 2 Save: The Digital Ministry Bible • Social media provides common space • No ‘Episcopal Facebook’ or ‘AME Twitter’ • Ability to ‘listen pastorally’ to others’ conversations • Direct access to individuals and congregations
    • 11. Why Church cannot ignore Facebook: If they are online, they are on Facebook.
    • 12. If we choose to be absent from this space, we imply to 1,000,000,000 active Facebook users: “We don’t care about the conversations you are having here. Your passions, questions, and everyday life is of no concern to us.”
    • 13. “social media…is hardly thought about at all. It’s as commonplace as wallpaper. The Millennials who make up the church use social media the way they use oxygen. If asked, they can discuss it. If deprived of it, they would suffer. Otherwise they don’t think about it. “It’s 2011,” one says to me. “You can get a whole degree online. Why wouldn’t we use this stuff?” New Media Project case study on House for All Sinners and Saints, ELCA, Denver CO
    • 14. Focus on the tools that work best for your community
    • 15. FACEBOOK - Use for individuals, products , causes or organizations - Allows for sharing of “Status Updates,” links, event invites, and photos - Allows for “Friends” and “Fans” - “Tagging” identifies others in a photo or post - Interfaces with games and applications - Churches can have “Groups” or “Pages” (recommended) - Increasingly used as a search engine
    • 16. TWITTER • • • • • • Short-form “micro-blog” in 140 characters Allows for sharing of text, pictures & links Optional use geo-location #Hashtags allow for categorization Good for real-time updates & breaking news Latinos and African Americans are 5x more likely to use Twitter than white Americans • Very Public Conversation
    • 17. TWITTER
    • 18. TWITTER
    • 19. FourSquare • • • • • • • • Geo-locating application Interfaces with Facebook, Twitter and Google+ Allows you to “Check-in” at locations Rewards usage with “Mayors” and Badges Allows friends to see where you are Works best with a Smart Phone Competitor to Facebook’s own Check-in Allows strangers to see reviews, photos, tips & deals
    • 20. WORDPRESS • Most popular Blogging platform and Content Management System (CMS) • Allows for long-form writing • Free for www.RevEverett.wordpress.com or approx. $25 annually for www.RevEverett.com • Competitor with Blogger, Moveable Type, Posterous, Tumblr, Type Pad, Google Sites • Free & for purchase templates allow for easy set up and customization, but prohibit free form design • ‘Plug-ins’ allow for integration with other Social Media platforms • Useful for building general websites w/o professional help • Broadcast in posting, Social Media in comments
    • 21. TUMBLR • Short-form writing, media & photo-sharing platform with scrolling content • As of July 18, 2012, Tumblr has over 64.7 million blogs • Newly capable of sharing music via Spotify • Allows for internal commenting, reposting, and sharing from Tumbr to Tumblr • Users follow other Tumbr blogs • Integrates with other social media platforms • Great for project-specific blogs
    • 22. PINERTREST • Highly visual social media platform • Users share pictures and “Pin” to idea or theme boards • Lots of design, craft, home & food content • High click-thru rate to purchasing sites • Predominately female users • Powerful for sharing evocative imagery • Potential for collaborative design for Church
    • 23. INSTAGRAM • Photo-sharing mobile Ap • Photo filters & photo-editing tools allow for emotive images • Smart phone ap, now with a website • Users tag, like, and comment on photos • Photos can be geo-located and categorized with #hashtags • Interfaces with other social media, ex: Facebook, Twitter, Tumbr. • Powerful tool for sharing beautiful, holy images
    • 24. Lessons from running the Massachusetts Council of Churches Facebook Page • Clearly define your unique charism/filter: • Christian Unity • Congregational Vitality • MA Church trends
    • 25. Lessons from running the Massachusetts Council of Churches Facebook Page • ADD value Don’t just pass through other people’s content without adding your own contribution. Why does this matter to your followers? Regularly review who is following you to remind yourself who is your audience
    • 26. Lessons from running the Massachusetts Council of Churches Facebook Page • Connect people and organizations Always tag and always praise
    • 27. Lessons from running the Massachusetts Council of Churches Facebook Page • Mix in original content people like to share photos!
    • 28. Lessons from running the Massachusetts Council of Churches Facebook Page • Invite people to prayer as appropriate, name people, institutions, events to lift up in prayer Facebook feed as the prayers of the People
    • 29. Lessons from running the Massachusetts Council of Churches Facebook Page • LIKE  Generously Spend twice as much time in your Facebook feed as you do on your own posts “Like” is a way of saying “I see you,” “Bless you,” “You are not alone.”
    • 30. Lessons from running the Massachusetts Council of Churches Facebook Page • Mix the Ancient and the Modern Share parts of your history that connect to the present Examples: New England Yearly Meeting & Old South Church
    • 31. Lessons from running the Massachusetts Council of Churches Facebook Page • Show life and humor like liturgy, offer joy and awe without overbearing gravitas • Identify the author ~ Rev. Laura helps fans know to whom they are responding when we ask a question
    • 32. Lessons from running the Massachusetts Council of Churches Facebook Page • Share (real time) Photos images of the beautiful, holy, curious and scenes of church life • Then Tag people! Best way we’ve seen to up the # of people who see and share
    • 33. Lessons from running the Massachusetts Council of Churches Facebook Page • Respond! if someone takes the time to comment, grant them the courtesy of a response
    • 34. #ClimateRevival 11,633 accounts reached with this hashtag
    • 35. MBTA Says Carolers That Were Kicked Out of Station For Lack of Permit Can Come Back & Spread Joy Published: December 17th 2012, 9:28pm +1 StreetCred The MBTA's new general manager, Beverly Scott, is full of holiday cheer. After a group of more than a dozen Christmas carolers were booted from the Forest Hills T station platform by Transit Police on Monday night, because they didn't have the proper permitting, Scott vowed to find a safe place for the group to perform to bring joyful tunes to T travelers. According to a Tweet from Rev. Laura Everett, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, the choir set out to surprise riders at the bustling transit stop with some catchy tunes for the Christmas season. But after a brief time bringing in the holiday cheer, they were asked by Transit Police to move along. Everett said she understood there are rules, and the cops seemed "none too happy about enforcing them," but she was surprised they did."This is the scandalous church lady life I live. Christmas caroling without a permit," she wrote. When BostInno reached out to MBTA Spokesman Joe Pesaturo to ask about the alleged Transit Police Scrooges shooing the singers from their impromptu stage, he said they did not have the proper permits and were not in accordance with the "Subway Performers Program's rules."
    • 36. Public Religious Leadership in Social Media • • • • • • • • • • Be a human, not a clergybot No pontificating (unless you are @Pontifex) No (emotional) fishing Ask more questions Your title will not save you No outsourcing Invite people to prayer/take requests Authenticity & interactivity give you cred Show Christ’s love for ALL the people If there are only Church people on your FB or Twitter feed, you’re doing it wrong.
    • 37. Congregational Social Media plan Facebook Page Clearly define your unique charism/filter: 1. 2. 3. 4. ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________
    • 38. Congregational Social Media plan Facebook Page Schedule of Social Media Ministry: • • • • • Who will post?/ Who are the administrators? How often? Covenant to “like” & “share” Coordinate with new website posts? Time with Constant Contact?
    • 39. Continuing (digital) formation • Watch, follow, ‘friend,’ the people practicing excellence in Digital Ministry • Borrow and praise • Experiment! • Fail! Mess Up! Ask Forgiveness! • Regular review of what’s working/fun • Read (see resource guide) • Listen #chsocm Twitter chat Tues 9pm. • Listen
    • 40. Safe Church • • • • • T rue H elpful I nspiring N ecessary K ind • • • • S hared (with an unrelated adult) A pparent (readily seen – windows) F ree to be disseminated (confidentiality) E qual (power relationship)