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Challenges and Opportunities of Social Media


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Adapted from part of a presentation at the Massachusetts Bay District 2010 Spring Conference.

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Challenges and Opportunities of Social Media

  1. 1. Challenges and Opportunities of Social Media for Unitarian Universalist Congregations Adapted from the Mini-Keynote I by Shelby Meyerhoff for Massachusetts Bay District Spring Conference May 1, 2010
  2. 2. Opportunities <ul><li>Self-publishing </li></ul><ul><li>Viral spread of information </li></ul><ul><li>Building relationships with low level of risk-taking for seekers </li></ul><ul><li>Holistic relationship-building </li></ul><ul><li>Integration into daily life </li></ul>
  3. 3. Challenges <ul><li>Growing diversity of tools and niches  decentralized audience  more effort needed to reach same audience </li></ul><ul><li>Potential decrease in control of image (personal and congregational) </li></ul><ul><li>Increase in amount of content, risk of content overload </li></ul><ul><li>Questions about how to translate real-world relationship norms into online norms </li></ul>
  4. 4. General principles for social media engagement <ul><li>Centrality of mission </li></ul><ul><li>Add value </li></ul><ul><li>Post meaningful content </li></ul><ul><li>Clarity of asks or invitations </li></ul><ul><li>Consistency of tone and types of content </li></ul><ul><li>Scheduling (days/times or frequency) </li></ul><ul><li>Healthy relationships (communal and one-to-one; safety, ethics)  clear and enforced expectations </li></ul>
  5. 5. How to choose a tool? <ul><li>Clarify mission </li></ul><ul><li>Analyze opportunities to further mission </li></ul><ul><li>Ask detailed questions (who, what, when, how) </li></ul><ul><li>Research tools </li></ul><ul><li>Choose tools </li></ul>
  6. 6. Analyze opportunities <ul><li>Assess your congregation’s gifts and opportunities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Congregational leaders’ inner gifts (knowledge, compassion, humor, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Draw on existing successes while also looking for online-only opportunities </li></ul>
  7. 7. Ask questions <ul><ul><li>Who will post, is intended audience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What kinds of content will be created/shared </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When will content be shared (schedule), will social media presence be evaluated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How will you promote your online presence, maintain safety and ethics (keynote III) </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Research tools: Let’s start on this today! <ul><li>Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Podcasts/ iTunes </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube </li></ul>
  9. 9. Blogs <ul><li>Good for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exploring topics at length </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Primarily text, but other content is possible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Archiving conversations and ideas in easy-to-search format </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Facebook <ul><li>Good for </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Group conversations with short comments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promoting person-to-person spread of information as well as broadcasting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharing short, frequent updates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharing different types of content (photos, video, links, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reaching a large potential audience </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Twitter <ul><li>Good for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Offering short updates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Live-reporting on events </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Joining decentralized conversations (about your neighborhood, an advocacy issue, etc.) </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Podcasting/iTunes <ul><li>Good for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allowing people to consume your content on-the-go (for example, in a car) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing audio-only content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Building a consistent audience for audio/video and automatically supplying them new content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reaching iTunes user base </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. YouTube <ul><li>Good for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Publishing videos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promoting sharing of videos through multiple channels (blogs, Facebook, etc). </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Other tools <ul><li>Location-based social networking (Foursquare) </li></ul><ul><li>Review sites (Yelp) </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile phone applications </li></ul>
  15. 15. Learning more about tools <ul><li>Use the tool </li></ul><ul><li>Read the help section, FAQ’s </li></ul><ul><li>Ask around </li></ul>