Engaging Audiences in the digital age


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National Stewardship for the Hope amidst Uncertainty Conference, Writtle College (3rd July 2013)

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  • 45 minute session before lunch…
  • This is what many people think the internet is about … just a big ‘timesuck’, but thankfully the attitude is changing … and I hope that as you’ve invited me here – your attitude is changing too…
  • Social Media – all about RELATIONSHIPS, so we are going to start by getting to know each other as if we are on Twitter.
  • Ability to connect… and communicate…
  • We are created by a God who rejoices in our 2-way communication with him… we are called also to be extravagant communicators…So if we’re going to communicate on God’s behalf (individually/as organisations) … what do we need to think about?Image taken from Durham University website.
  • So if we’re going to think about how we’re going to engage our audience … FIRST we need to think who they are … young people? Old people? Stage of life? Education? Faith background? Likely questons, etc…
  • e.g. the audience here are just mums, cold, etc – members of the church (seeing church as people) have seen a problem and found a solution – there was no ‘ulterior motive’ here – just reaching out/welcoming, but there has been a group of people who now have questions about faith, etc. and church members…. So think about what your community wants/needs?
  • Secondly – think what do you want that audience to do … not necessarily in a “buy”, etc way …
  • Not PUBLISHING, but looking for CONVERSATIONS/relationship building.. We started with that exercise as a chance to get to know a little something about someone else – we don’t need to know it all .. But we connect over shared interests…
  • For the last 200+ years we have grown used to this model of ministry (in preaching, and in much of our other communications) (and I’d question if the arrows are even coming back the other way…)
  • … but the digital environment allows much more of this. Some people talk about a flattening of hierarchy, but although the digital allows more people to have their say, I would still say it is the ‘known’ and the ‘celebrity’ that get read more!
  • We need to understand “the culture” that we are engaging with… same as if you went on mission overseas…
  • 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)…
  • Remember the SOCIAL in social media (not so much the ‘technology’) – see people/users feature on this globe…
  • 4 mins (time to watch?)
  • … but when we’re talking about ‘the internet’ and even ‘social media’ – we have to remember that it’s not something homogenous .. If you want to know more – download this 6-7 page document I try to keep updated.. , and you’ll see different tools are use for different things!
  • Chris Juby – reducing every chapter to 140 characters … did this personally, but decided to send out a local press release – got picked up by national & international press – got lots of people engaged with the Bible – even if they were only interested in language/the novelty of what he was done… it’s still a touchpoint (online = lots of touchpoints)…
  • Phil, who’s here somewhere … summarised entire Bible in around 9000 characters… makes you think about what it’s really about.
  • … and we’re been playing with what each Bible chapter looks like as a wordle – where the bigger the word, the more times it’s mentioned in a chapter…
  • .. And this ties into an increasingly ‘visual turn’ online – particularly with the advent of Pinterest which gained popularity at the beginning of 2012 – with people sharing inspiring pictures (and the picture links to the website behind it).
  • If going to use images…
  • Can give rights to people – e.g. this is the licence I give to all my work… and means others can use my work Must attribute…
  • Or make your own… Steve uses more regularly than I do … esp in sharing church activities more widely…
  • … allow people to communicate the joy that they see before them… as we did on our recent Tearfund trip…
  • … in all of this we want to remember that we are talking about ‘human beings at machines’ nor replaced by ‘human beings as machines’.
  • Who do I think of before I publish anything?
  • Think about what your story is, how you’re going to tell it …
  • Come to know yourself, what gifts and passions God has given you, and look to live those out authentically & with integrity online… what I call a ‘digital fingerprint’ – you were made to be unique, so be unique … and look for others to engage with in that area…
  • We may be the only Bible that some people ever see … What do your priorities appear to be? Does God seem to have a place in your life? Demonstrate life as it is, rather than how you wish it would be… Relentlessly positive? How do we also share some of the difficulties of life – be real, allow people to connect with us [some of best sermons I’ve ever heard are people telling me are how they’ve dealt with difficult times… demonstrated that they are still pursuing the answers… ]… sentences end in a question rather than in a full stop?http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/2dQMJYj/We+Are+Not+Alone
  • Choose some search terms to search for yourself, that you think people might be searching for, etc. and use as the basis of how you’re going to develop your content… http://www.inboundnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/b2b_long_tail.gif
  • e.g. Google can see what’s “hot” right now – is it worth trying to engage in that conversation? Can also see related terms…
  • … and Google adwords keyword tool will give further ideas…
  • … people ARE seeking God online! So how can we help them find him?
  • Blogs are very busy (often part of a website…)
  • Many of us are not ‘preachers’ – but we may have those who we think want to listen to us, but also our other friends…
  • e.g. quite a few people use the hashtag #sermon – how much insight would this give people into our church life (which should be seen outside the walls)…
  • Get those of your organisation passionate about what you are doing, and then they are likely, with passion, to share with their friends (e.g. me & sermons) = look at the numbers involved…
  • Thinking through how things have changed – we don’t PUSH the message at people – we seek to be intriguing and draw them in… even more so we want people to be our ‘brand ambassadors’…
  • A friend of mine set this up less than a year ago – images are highly shareable and gently poke fun at Anglicanism – truly inside jokes many of them, but they work! Now about 2k likes … also picked up by another page with 1000s of likes (so old power structures still work online)..
  • .. Which I think is summed up nicely here.
  • 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.. But 700 is considerably more than many churches have …
  • Many people look here first… (also some audio – e.g. podcasts)
  • Don’t forget that huge numbers of people are only connecting via their mobile phones … Google search dropping because people looking through apps, etc. for information right here, right now … can you ENCOURAGE people to check into church etc (and not just church!) .. Similarly encourage them to tweet, Facebook, etc as part of the (or after) the service…
  • May not watch (3 mins) but recommend worth seeing…
  • 2nd largest numbers… linked in with Google SEO… questionable how real all that action is…
  • Help people understand … if churches have e.g. wifi = a great venue to get people in and aware of church … http://bigbible.org.uk/2012/10/social-media-surgery-interview-with-watfordgap-cnmac12/
  • If you are working for an organisation – e.g. a church – ensure that people can feel ‘free’ to go ahead and represent you …not having
  • See e.g. from Methodist Church
  • … and don’t forget the cat.
  • Leaving you with some questions to think about…
  • Something to leave you thinking about … “what Biblical values do we want to see in our (digital) world?” (digital in brackets, as it’s part of our whole world…) …
  • … what do the fruits of the spirit look like online – what does it mean to be patient & self-control … do we need to hold back from posting that thought at the moment we think it?
  • .. In particular what does it mean to share with ‘grace’ … we want to be invited to share, but we also want to ensure that we respond to things ‘gracefully’ – this doesn’t mean like a doormat but not flinging around some of the insults that I can see from people online at different ends of Biblical interpretation…
  • So – what do you think? What does it make you think about engaging online, how we share our faith, how we make Jesus real to people?
  • Engaging Audiences in the digital age

    1. 1. ENGAGING AUDIENCESIN A DIGITALAGEDr Bex LewisResearch Fellow in Social Media and OnlineLearning, CODEC, Durham UniversityDirector, Digital Fingerprint@drbexl@digitalfprint@bigbible@ww2posterHope Amidst Uncertainty Conference, Writtle CollegeImage Credit: RGBStock
    2. 2. Image Credit: Facebook Meme
    3. 3. Let’s “tweet” each other…Image Credit: iStockphoto
    4. 4. Twitter Spokesperson:• Twitter brings you closer to thethings you are passionate about- and for millions of peopleacross the globe that is faith.• http://news.sky.com/story/1022800/senior-bishops-to-tweet-christmas-sermons
    5. 5. Rev Prof David WilkinsonGod is a communicatingGod: “In the beginningwas the word, and theword was God…”.God is extravagant incommunication – he is nota silent God who has to betempted intocommunicating withpeople.Image Credit: Durham University
    6. 6. Who is your audience?http://www.rgbstock.com/photo/mjQsEks/Theatre+Seats
    7. 7. A “Good News Story”http://bigbible.org.uk/2012/10/a-good-news-story-murielsowden/
    8. 8. What do you want them to DO?
    9. 9. OFTEN: Don‟t look to “PUBLISH” but to“CONVERSE”Image Credit: SXC.Hu
    10. 10. Craig von Buseck, Netcasters, 2010
    11. 11. Craig von Buseck, Netcasters, 2010
    12. 12. Image Credit: Seed Resources
    13. 13. NOT Virtual/RealImage Credit: Stockfresh
    14. 14. Image Credit: Stockfresh
    15. 15. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUCfFcchw1w
    16. 16. http://www.slideshare.net/drbexl/an-overview-of-social-media-january-2013
    17. 17. Some Creative Uses…Image Credit: Stockfresh
    18. 18. http://www.biblesummary.info
    19. 19. http://philmgreen.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/66-books-in-66-tweets/
    20. 20. http://bigbible.tumblr.com
    21. 21. http://pinterest.com/bigbible/bible-verses/
    22. 22. Copyright, etc…• Really important to be aware of…!!Image Credit: iStockphoto
    23. 23. http://creativecommons.org/choose/
    24. 24. Image Sources, e.g.• FREE• Flickr Creative Commons:http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons• http://www.sxc.hu• http://rgbstock.com• http://seedresources.com (3 a week)• http://www.freebibleimages.org• PAID• http://stockfresh.com/• http://iStockPhoto.comImage Credit: Stockfreshhttp://bigbible.org.uk/about/policies/image-policy/
    25. 25. http://instagram.com/stevefogg
    26. 26. Tearfund.org/bloggers
    27. 27. Human Beings at Machines, not “aremachines” …Image Credit: Stockfresh
    28. 28. Who‟s my audience?•God•Parents•„The kids‟•The newspaper•Your worst enemy
    29. 29. Image Credit: iStockphoto
    30. 30. Luke 6:45 (NIV)A good man brings good thingsout of the good stored up in hisheart, and an evil man bringsevil things out of the evil storedup in his heart. For the mouthspeaks what the heart isfull of.
    31. 31. AuthenticityImage Credits: Seed Resources/ @digitalfprint
    32. 32. “Ifanalienvisited…”… and allthey had tosee was yourFacebookpage (orother „public‟profile)..What wouldtheirperceptionof your lifebe?Image: RGB Stock
    33. 33. Identify your Keywords: “The Long Tail”Image Credit: InboundNow
    34. 34. http://www.google.co.uk/trends/hottrends
    35. 35. http://j.mp/GGladwords
    36. 36. Seeking God Online…http://bigbible.org.uk/2012/03/seeking-god-online-digidisciple-emmuk74/
    37. 37. http://transformationmarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Blogging-Stats-01.jpghttp://j.mp/12A7tuh
    38. 38. Preaching (& other speaking)How might ourapproach to preachingchange if weunderstand that wehave two audiences –the faithful who sitclose to us and abroader public,listening-in from adistance?Image Credit: SXC.Hu
    39. 39. https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sermon&src=typd
    40. 40. Networks of Networkshttp://j.mp/2013FBFriends
    41. 41. Push/Pull Media…Image Credit: Stockfresh
    42. 42. http://anglicanmemes.com/
    43. 43. Facebook Insights
    44. 44. World’s 2nd Largest Search Engine:Image Credit: Searchingmobile.com
    45. 45. Increasingly Mobile…Image Credit: Stockfresh
    46. 46. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRiwUCXPo8U
    47. 47. So, do I need to worry aboutGoogle+?https://plus.google.com/u/0/104673457166214487444/
    48. 48. Social Media Surgeries
    49. 49. Agree a (flexible) Social MediaPolicyImage credit: SXC.Hu
    50. 50. http://www.methodist.org.uk/ministers-and-office-holders/technology-and-church/social-media-guidelines• The Methodist Church social media policy:• Be credible. Be accurate, fair, thorough and transparent.• Be consistent. Encourage constructive criticism and deliberation.• Be cordial, honest and professional at all times. Be responsive.When you gain insight, share it where appropriate.• Be integrated. Wherever possible, align online participation withother communications.• Be a good representative of the Methodist Church. Rememberthat you are an ambassador for Christ, the Church and your partof it. Disclose your position as
a member or officer of theChurch, making it clear when speaking personally. Let Galatians5:22–26 guide your behaviour (fruits of the spirit).• Be respectful: respect confidentiality. Respect the views ofothers even where you disagree.
    51. 51. http://twitterforchurches.com/blog/2009/06/29/crisis-communications-for-the-social-media-age/Don’t overthink. Running throughcommittees, endless drafts and approvalprocesses to get a response out therecan cause far more damage than good.As long as you have taken the time toassess the situation and can take arational, respectful tone in yourresponse, even an awkward response isOK to start with, and buys you time tocontinue to respond to the problem.
    52. 52. Principles of Good Engagement•Be interesting•Be encouraging•Be active•Be helpful•Be authentic
    53. 53. Image Credit: Stockfresh
    54. 54. What Biblical values do we want to see inour (digital) world?Image Credit: iStockPhoto
    55. 55. What do the fruits of the spirit look like online?Image Credit: Kezi
    56. 56. What does it mean to share with grace?Image Credit: Seed Resources
    57. 57. Where do you plan to go now?Image Credit: Stockfresh
    58. 58. @drbexl @digitalfprint @bigbiblehttp://www.slideshare.net/drbexl/Image Credit: iStockPhoto