United Reformed Church: Digital Confidence with @drbexl


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A 135 minute session for the United Reformed Church by Dr Bex Lewis of Digital Fingerprint

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  • The demographic I believe is pretty much beginner. Those who have signed up are keen to promote their church using social media but not quite sure how to approach it.  We’d like to concentrate on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and possibly touch on instagram so this would be a short condensed and expurgated version of your social media course (the one I attended) focussing mainly on those tools in 2 hours 15 minutes.   
  • Assume 09:10 starting point

    … Hello, introduce self… (if not seen this before = the famous ‘Twitter’ – latest incarnation of it – changed again recently – often things change look, but general function = same, so don’t let looks put you off).

    Wondering how many of you are confident social media users? FB, Twitter, or what?
  • 5 mins (could do with cards with people’s names on)

    Social Media – all about RELATIONSHIPS, so we are going to start by getting to know each other as if we are on Twitter … in some ways we are looking at the kind of issues that will arise, including some exercises that you could do with youth groups..
  • Commonality – finding a starting point & getting to know each other – essential building blocks of any evangelism, etc… with a strong focus on LISTENING!
    You’re looking to provide information, engage in dialogue, listen to your audience … build a community who will be interested in the other things that you do ..

    Expect that these next few days will take some time to digest … it can seem like a lot of information, but this is intended to challenge, enable strategy and move us forward.
  • Mention ‘incarnational;’…
  • http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/pope-francis-takes-twitter-by-storm-in-the-first-papal-selfie-8792660.html

    These are two of the most powerful men in Christian circles … both actively engaging online. Justin Welby was originally ABCJustin, then wanted to become a ‘person’ rather than a ‘role’, although still needs care with ‘role’ .. Whatever position you are in.

    Don’t’ forget the SOCIAL in social media … about engaging rather than broadcasting (FOR MOST) thought argument for e.g. just not possible…

    Justin has previously apologised in tweets for not being able to engage personally with everyone … citing that he wouldn’t get the rest of his work complete, but that he appreciates all those who contact him (makes sense – going online doesn’t mean have to throw away ‘time wisdom’.
    The Pope doesn’t even make a pretence, as “he” simply follows himself in 8 different languages.
  • Now, these may surprise you, as you may expect that I come in, tools first, and say “let’s do it all digitally”, but as it has been for many years, and will be for many more – we should start with the PROBLEM(S) that need solving, and then look at how the digital fits into the mix… not necexssarily going to tackle all these questions in order, but all important!
  • Think about what you are trying to achieve… if achieving is “we’re having an experiment with social media”, that’s OK too… otherwise what is
  • “Fish where the Fish Are”
  • Understand the Culture… - What you’d expect from working missionally…
  • Qualman – just over 3 mins (business focused, but worth thinking about…) – is what we’re doing ‘marketing’ …

  • An article, I wrote - the church is just not on many people’s radar .. On a Sunday the Cathedrals of the shopping mall and the football pitch draw people in and provide the social spaces that people used to get from the church… so is there something else that Christians are seeking to offer… (But also need care that not using that space just to promote what you doing … if the church community gets onboard can see true community).
  • Building relationships takes time, but church has never been about “bums on seats”, so much as about encouraging those who attend to live full lives of discipleship. Many of those who enjoy the digital spaces are skeptical about being ‘preached to’. We live in a world of “pull” rather than “push” media (show me why I will be interested, rather than tell me I should be interested), but as Elizabeth Drescher says:

    We are not selling something to the world that will make more people like us, believe in our story, join our churches. We are trying to be something in the world that invites connection and compassion, encourages comfort and healing for those in need, and challenges those in power to use that power in the service of justice and love (Drescher, 127).
  • Organisations made up of the people inside them… this is not necessarily another job for the vicar, etc.. If I share something, my friends may see it – far more than if just the organisation does – so you are looking for things that people might want to share! (Push/Pull)
  • Needs to be built into what you are doing within your ministerial role…

  • JISC – organization I work with particularly interested in HE/FE – this is their definition – think is a helpful working definition.
  • This book written to help fight against ‘moral panics’ – we’ve survived every other technological development … and we need to think what differences it makes to our lives … but not be over-awed by it all… Covers a lot of digital culture, designed to take the fear out of using it – seen as the biggest sticking point for most… so useful for all, but with particular focus on those aspects that affect kids
  • Importance of online/offline

    Always remember that there is a human being at the other end of the keyboard - each uniquely created by God… and as is noted by many communicators is not what you’ve said, but what others have ‘heard’ … not everyone receives the message that you send in the same way .. And one message definitely doesn’t fit all… we’re in the world of what is described as “the long tail”, where rather than being able to send out a mass message, we have to have more concern with individuals (which I always hope we as Christians do anyway, but…. ) – Google searches for ‘niches’ (small keywords/multiple entry points, etc.)
  • So, before we look at Twitter… What are your values? What do you stand for? If we think about e.g. one I think is core = authenticity – how can you promote something that you don’t agree/internalise it’s values – why I have always rejected doing someone else’s social media, but found ones that are my ‘natural’ space.

    EXERCISE with flip-chart… want you to think about this briefly… e.g. think about the fruits of the spirit (love, gentleness, peace, patience, faithfulness, self-control, joy, goodness, kindness).

    Integrity (own comments “I feel, etc.)
    Self-control (consider consequences of interpretation – inc revisited later)
    Patience (expectations for response times)
    Authenticity (consistent to “you”)
    Trust (information can be out there, don’t speak on others behalf unless permission)
    Non-manipulative (audience aware, do someone down, bad spin; “If you love Jesus share this”)
    Respect (encounter different opinions – think through reactions); Good Manners; not ‘entitled’ to respect – respect others first.. Treat as you expect to be treated
    “Freedom of Speech” – think carefully; Libel
    Self-awareness – context; read differently – can you “hear” tone of voice
    Don’t press “send” in anger …
    Kindness – encourage online, messages of support
    Transparency – do we know the source of all this…
    Aliases? Who’s saying what? Accountability. Who are they?
  • Arrive here 35-40 minutes…
  • You may have seen this in the form of ‘doughnuts’…
  • Let’s look at one of the fastest growing tools out there…

    Lots of people have this response to Twitter, but it’s got a growing user base … a couple of years ago had about 100 million active users, now nearly 300 million…

  • Tweets = 140 characters long…
  • Ability to REPLY … (see here) What like about this – timeliness, friendliness, taking responsibility even though it was for a different company…
  • “Twitter brings you closer to the things you are passionate about - and for millions of people across the globe that is faith.”

    Easy to find people … if know who they are – the ‘search’ up the top … read their bio, and click ‘follow’ = easy to ‘unfollow’ afterwards...

    Don’t forget to ‘piggyback’
  • You get 160 characters for this… Who is going to do this? When aka “how often” (twice a month = lost)? What content is worth sharing – each tweet doesn’t need to be a mini “War & Peace” but also let’s not have too many breakfast tweets…

    Manage expectations – Who, When, What

    Want to look at some a/cs out there – and hope get some inspiration too…

  • The one you all know about right…?
  • 52 tweeters throughout the year to give a real sense of what CofE is up to…
  • A diocese that I think conveys nicely a sense of the organisation and what people in this diocese are involved in – not straight broadcasting…
  • My old church – sporadic but learning – note focus not on building but on the people…
  • Mix sober/humour
  • Couple of creative uses…
  • Explain send one small message and cascades out .. Message gets bigger with each RT – I have 5k followers, someone with 30k RTs – they are saying message is worth listening to .. And all their audience may see it too….

    Moderated Retweet (esp to make it shorter), and Hat-Tip … all about collaboration, acknowledging the source, etc…

  • How many to use, how to create a new one, how to advertise them in church, etc. prospective pitfalls.. Keep it short, consistent, advertise it before the service, let people know about it (don’t try and take over an organic hashtag), make sure it makes sense and that it’s not already in use for something else… Go live online to see some in action…
  • Are there conversations you can genuinely join in on? E.g. this will be on Channel 5 in December…
  • Show how to change to other areas, be aware of tailored trends, etc.
  • Demo – what a list does, how to add someone, how to create a new one (may still be limited to 20?)
  • Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Barack Obama = top 3 accounts followed by others…

    Understanding a ‘verified’ person .. Doesn’t mean they not ‘real’ if don’t have one, but if they do, have been verified by Twitter…
  • Don’t forget = it’s PUBLIC, PUBLIC!
  • Why might they want to/not want to tweet about church? Recognise the assumptions that you might be making about them? What might encourage ‘engagement’ that’s more than a like…
  • Get here for 1 hour 10 ..
  • Basics of all – FB strong on being a ‘personal account’ and doesn’t allow duplicate a/cs – may get away with it but if they decide – can shut both down…
  • Share messages via walls – see here can add location, photos, emoticons and choose who to share with, etc…
  • 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..
  • Tea & Toast – serving a real need – ended up gaining new members of the church – online/offline mix…
  • Don’t assume this is an accurate idea of how many will actually turn up, etc…
  • Tweets = 140 characters long…
  • http://edudemic.com/2013/03/find-out-if-youre-an-average-facebook-user-with-this-image/
  • Tweets = 140 characters longNote that Facebook designed for College students so 18+, not surprising that less of the younger are on it (reports of them leaving in droves, but appear to be rejoining later)

    http://www.socialbakers.com/facebook-statistics/united-kingdom , 26 May 2014…
  • Tweets = 140 characters long…
  • Time to discuss how this might work, etc… takes us to 1 hour 30…
  • So, there should be 45 mins left at this point…
  • YouTube = 2nd largest search engine … often for ‘how to….’ – how might we change what comes up at the top of the search rankings – bearing in mind just creating something won’t appear…


  • Let’s have a look, from the headlines, what seemed to be the kind of things that people wanted to share… (http://youtube-trends.blogspot.co.uk )
  • 1:47 – what puts this kind of smile on a child’s face – and would you guess the brand before the end if you didn’t already know?
  • 1:39 – a long term institution whose life has been intertwined with those who visit…
  • 3:41!! Probably would have worked better at 30 seconds … (only going to watch 30 seconds)
  • 4-5 mins but don’t need to see all of these…
  • Can be simply done on a smartphone… Not going to play… Based on Mark 4 – thoughts about ‘fishers of people’ … 1.5 mins (recorded straight from the iPad in 1 take) – range of voices in the sermon, not just the preacher…

    No need for BBC production values
  • Follow the step-by-step instructions… (at bottom of this slide is a link to upload instructions … but see link in the box).
  • Note – creation tools includes option for audio…
  • The mean-space of YouTube…
  • Last 15 minutes… The importance of the visual – and tools such as Pinterest…

  • Rich term - http://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=youth%20work%20ideas
  • Show the activity going on in church … Steve Fogg… has been shown to have some of the biggest interactivity – be aware ..
  • Can add to legitimate image sources may use elsewhere…
  • We have limited time/resources, so can’t be spending all our time online … here’s some tools to help…
  • Timesaver… but don’t forget to check back in …
  • Here’s my suggestions for a ‘daily workout’ – anticipated to take around 20 minutes a day… worth the investment – really has to look active to generate interest!
  • Tweets = 140 characters long…
  • Collecting stories without having to search…
  • What should you share?
  • Think about the keywords that you’ll focus on … then think about humour, vulnerability, authenticity, etc.
  • … and don’t forget the cat.
  • Are you listening to them, producing something for them, or for yourself, … e.g. Old Spice campaign – designed because they realised men weren’t buying it, but women buying it for their men to smell nice… so if you’re trying to get people into church, who are you seeking to reach?
  • Problems – are there any have an idea of where the digital might help? Then feed back in – will we have a flipboard … let’s hold onto some of those, and start to think about what digital tools might help solve them…

    How might deal with any trolls?
  • 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
  • Social Media shouldn’t be an add-on, but should be considered in everything else that you’re doing… put links to the pages/Twitter name, etc. in church notice sheets, and publicity, etc…
  • Between 3-4pm …

    Final word – remember – there is always a human being at the other end of the keyboard… think before you type…

  • United Reformed Church: Digital Confidence with @drbexl

    1. 1. URC: DIGITAL CONFIDENCE Dr Bex Lewis, Digital Fingerprint http://www.slideshare.net/drbexl/united-reformed-church- digital-confidence-with-drbexl June 2014 for: http://www.urc.org.uk This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International
    2. 2. https://twitter.com/drbexl
    3. 3. Let’s “tweet” each other…“Let’s Tweet Each Other”
    4. 4. SOCIAL Media
    5. 5. "If you want to build a presence in the social media platform, then you need to be present." - @unmarketing
    6. 6. The Big Questions •Why •Where •When •What •Who •To achieve what? •How do the digital tools help achieve this?
    7. 7. WHY?
    8. 8. Image Credit: The Worship Cloud
    9. 9. Understand the Culture
    10. 10. http://youtu.be/zxpa4dNVd3c
    11. 11. The Church Front Door? For many churchgoing is no longer the ‘cultural norm’. People don’t actively ignore the church: they don’t even think about it. … With literally billions in the digital spaces, the online social spaces presented by churches need to be appealing, welcoming, and not look like they are just an afterthought: they are now effectively the ‘front door’ to your church for digital users, and you ignore those spaces at your peril. http://www.churchgrowthrd.org.uk/blog/churchgrowth/growing_churches_in_the_digital_age Image Credit: Sxc.hu
    12. 12. We are not selling something to the world that will make more people like us, believe in our story, join our churches. We are trying to be something in the world that invites connection and compassion, encourages comfort and healing for those in need, and challenges those in power to use that power in the service of justice and love (Drescher, 2011, 127)
    13. 13. Networks of Networks
    14. 14. Image Credit: Purchased Stockfresh Social Media: More than the cherry on the cake!
    15. 15. WHY IS THERE SO MUCH FEAR? Image Source: RGBStock
    16. 16. An incredible new technology enables the transmission of text on a worldwide basis. It rapidly reduces production and distribution costs and for the first time allows large numbers of people to access text and pictures in their own homes.
    17. 17. https://twitter.com/LeistCatalano/status/473076349394255872/photo/1
    18. 18. “Furedi suggests that moral panics have a tendency to occur ‘at times when society has not been able to adapt to dramatic changes’ and when such change leads those concerned to express fear over what they see as a loss of control.” http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Students/lcs9603.html Image Credit: Stockfresh
    19. 19. Image Credit: http://www.jiscdigitalmedia.ac.uk/video-assist Digital Literacy (JISC) “digital literacy defines those capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society”
    20. 20. Lion Hudson (2014)
    21. 21. Human Beings at machines, not “are machines” Image Source: Stockfresh
    22. 22. What (Biblical) values do we want to see in our (digital) world? Image Credit: iStockPhoto
    23. 23. WHERE?
    25. 25. http://www.maylor.net/2013/0 5/social-media-explained-for- churches
    26. 26. http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/files/2014/01/social-media-networks.png
    27. 27. Image Credit: Landingnet.co.uk 10 Essentials for Twitter
    28. 28. 1: 140 Characters
    29. 29. Train Tweets
    30. 30. 2: Followers
    31. 31. 3: Bio
    32. 32. https://twitter.com/c_of_e/
    33. 33. https://twitter.com/ourcofe
    34. 34. https://twitter.com/BathWells
    35. 35. https://twitter.com/ccwinch
    36. 36. https://twitter.com/spckpublishing
    37. 37. https://twitter.com/biblesummary
    38. 38. https://twitter.com/Natwivity
    39. 39. 4: RTs, MTs & HTs RTs, MTs and HTs
    40. 40. 5: #Hashtags
    41. 41. Join Pre-Existing Conversations
    42. 42. 6: Trending Topics 26/05/14: 22:56
    43. 43. 7: Favourites
    44. 44. 8: Lists
    45. 45. 9 : Verification
    46. 46. 10: It’s good for… • New connections via shared interests • Building your “brand” • Pre/During/Post Event Conversations • Breaking news • Asking questions • Sharing good resources • Sharing pithy statements/quotes • Being “polemical”
    47. 47. P.S. https://support.twitter.com/articles/14589-how- to-add-your-phone-via-sms
    48. 48. Tweeting in Church? • Good Thing? • Bad Thing? • Why might/might not people tweet in church? • What might encourage more ‘engagement’? Image Credit: Purchased Stockfresh
    49. 49. 9 Essentials for Facebook
    50. 50. 1: Personal Profile
    51. 51. 2: Write on Walls
    52. 52. 3: Pages
    53. 53. https://www.facebook.com/DigitalBible/info
    54. 54. Facebook Insights
    55. 55. 4: Groups
    56. 56. http://bigbible.org.uk/2012/10/a-good-news-story-murielsowden/
    57. 57. 5: Events
    58. 58. 6: The Like Button
    59. 59. ‘Amongst Friends…’
    60. 60. 7: Age/Gender
    61. 61. 8: Help!
    62. 62. 9: Facebook functions in ministry? • Encourage Community • Whole (life) Church • Groups (e.g. 20s30s) • Give others insights into ‘church life’ e.g. photo sharing • Offer pastoral care • *Youth: PM’s, CC parents/another leader in • Advertise Events
    63. 63. 9 Thoughts for YouTube
    64. 64. http://www.jeffbullas.com/2013/02/11/the-facts-and-figures-on-youtube-in-2013-infographic 1: Search
    65. 65. YouTube: “How To Pray”
    66. 66. https://www.youtube.com/user/theyearinreviewUK 2: Popular?
    67. 67. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lXh2n0aPyw
    68. 68. http://youtu.be/OAxO6KEbTiI
    69. 69. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYXGVzPydF8 3: Church?
    70. 70. http://youtu.be/D7_dZTrjw9I
    71. 71. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpmM02IE6oI 4: Everyday Tools
    72. 72. Go to: http://www.youtube.com 4: Sign Up
    73. 73. 5: Upload https://www.youtube.com/upload https://support.google.com/youtube/topic/2888648?hl=en-GB
    74. 74. 6: Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/URCUK
    75. 75. 7: Playlist
    76. 76. 8: Comment
    77. 77. 9: Simple ideas for Video •Think of the STORIES you have to tell, and how you might tell them – • Events: Before/After • Sermons: Quick Overviews/Responses • People & Their Lives • What can you “How To”?
    78. 78. The Visual…
    79. 79. http://www.pinterest.com/kristoff88/youth-work-ideas/
    80. 80. http://instagram.com/drbexl
    81. 81. Image Sources, e.g. • FREE • http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons • http://www.sxc.hu • http://rgbstock.com • http://www.freebibleimages.org • PAID • http://theworshipcloud.com (Christian) • http://stockfresh.com/ • http://iStockPhoto.com • See: http://bigbible.org.uk/about/policies/image-policy/ for more Image Credit: Stockfresh
    82. 82. WHEN?
    83. 83. 1 : Hootsuite
    84. 84. http://www.slideshare.net/drbexl/daily-twitter-workout
    85. 85. 2: Buffer
    86. 86. http://www.google.com/alerts
    87. 87. WHAT?
    88. 88. Think about •Keywords •Humour •Vulnerability •Authenticity •Stories
    89. 89. Principles of Good Engagement •Be interesting •Be encouraging •Be active •Be helpful •Be authentic Image Credit: Stockfresh
    90. 90. WHO?
    91. 91. Your audience •Who are you interested in reaching/listeni ng to? •What ‘problems’ are you seeking to solve for them? Image Credit: Purchased Stockfresh
    92. 92. Agree a (flexible) Social Media Policy Image credit: SXC.Hu
    93. 93. http://www.methodist.org.uk/ministers-and-office- holders/technology-and-church/social-media-guidelines • The principles applied to this are: • 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 with other communications. • Be a good representative of the Methodist Church. Remember that you are an ambassador for Christ, the Church and your part of it. Disclose your position as a member or officer of the Church, making it clear when speaking personally. Let Galatians 5:22-26 guide your behaviour. • Be respectful: respect confidentiality. Respect the views of others even where you disagree.
    94. 94. Bath & Wells Diocese 9 Twitter Rules • Don't rush in • Remember tweets are transient yet permanent • Be a good ambassador for the Church • Don't hide behind anonymity • Be aware of public/private life boundaries • Maintain a professional distance • Stay within the law • Respect confidentiality • Be mindful of your own security http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25848873
    95. 95. http://twitterforchurches.com/blog/2009/06/29/crisis- communications-for-the-social-media-age/ Don’t overthink. Running through committees, endless drafts and approval processes to get a response out there can cause far more damage than good. As long as you have taken the time to assess the situation and can take a rational, respectful tone in your response, even an awkward response is OK to start with, and buys you time to continue to respond to the problem.
    96. 96. Don’t forget… Image Credit: Stockfresh
    97. 97. What is your ONE takeaway action?
    98. 98. @drbexl @digitalfprint @bigbible Questions? http://www.slideshare.net/drbexl/united-reformed-church-digital-confidence-with-drbexl