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Facebook and social media are an incredible way to stay connected to your church family. It also is a great way to create content that can help you to reach out to your community that is disconnected to God. At our church, we have had many visitors come to our church through engaging Facebook posts. One student in our student ministry came and checked us out as a result of our youth ministry page and months later gave his life to Jesus. He is now in Bible college! Our church actually helped find candidates for open positions we were hiring for through Facebook promoted posts in our area.

To give you an idea of the reach of the social media giant, as of the first quarter of 2015, Facebook had:

  • 1.44 billion monthly active users
  • 1.25 billion mobile users
  • 936 million daily active users
  • 798 million mobile daily active users

To put things in perspective, Facebook now has more active users than China’s entire population (estimated to be 1.40 billion).

Crazy.

So what are the questions you as a church need to ask? I have compiled the best 11 questions to ask to have a great launch and continued strategy for engagement for your church Facebook page.

 

1)      Who are we targeting with our content?

2)      What content is applicable to our congregation/target audience?

3)      Who is in charge of posting content?

4)      What is appropriate or inappropriate for our posts?

5)      What is our goal for frequency of posts? How much is too much?

6)      Who else can we get involved to help create content?

7)      Who can we get to commit to engage with the page (not managers of the page, other users)?

8)      Who will respond to comments and keep others engaged?

9)      Who is willing to do some of the graphic work to make the page look nice?

10)    How will we gauge success?

11)    How can we ensure this will not fall off someone’s plate? How can you ensure someone will be creating meaningful content long term?

 

Although this may seem like a lot of work at the start, the potential upside is incredible.

Note: I recommend applying these same principles to other social media platforms as well.

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Leave a comment with other questions you believe to be helpful – or success stories you have seen or been a part of through social media…

 

Here is a picture of what mine looks like:

(Click to maximize)

Check out this easy, 2 minute video of how to get it before everyone else:

For my first reactions to the changes, check this here. Overall, I really like it. It’s visually very appealing and will provide a rich, interactive scrapbook that will provide much more value long term for us users. But I’m still on my first impression. And I’m wondering yours.

Leave your reactions, good or bad, below.

HT @KyleReed.

 

 

Here are my observations and updates of the changes that will be occurring over the next few weeks (starting today!) on facebook:

1.) Andy Samberg and Mark Zuckerberg look identical. I guess this isn’t an update, but it was an entertaining start. See it here: https://f8.facebook.com.

2.) There will now be “Gestures” on Facebook. This will allow users to use “verbs” to describe what they are doing (ex/ watched, loved, etc.), as oppose to just “like.” I think this will be nice, especially for when the user is not looking to endorse a certain article of information with only a “like” button.

3.) The new profile page, now called “Timeline” looks completely different. The view looks like a really interesting blog – but organized for you by facebook automatically. My first response, without using it yet, is that it looks really nice and will probably be the most impressive change.

Check out this video:

4.) The apps will go along with the gestures. You can now talk about Media & Lifestyle in real time.

5.) With Open Graph, you will discover what your friends are reading, watching, and recommending. Rather than simply having large news aggregators, our friends will be the ones who can recommend news articles to us. News will be “socially curated.”

6.) Social games will be more interactive and won’t have the sort of interruptions asking you to share with friends in the middle of gameplay. You will now be able to see what games your friends are playing and can play along with them.

7.) Lifestyle apps will allow you to share more content of what you are doing and what you are enjoying. Sharing your recipes online and your running routes will become much easier and visually stimulating.

8.) You can see what friends are watching or listening to at that moment. This means that you can listen and discuss YouTube videos or songs from Spotify in real time. I also believe this will make it super easy to make songs and videos go viral in seconds.

9.) With the social graph (I know, the terms get confusing…), you get to choose what content shows up. If you are sharing music, you can share a picture of the artist, you can share the song, you can share how many times you’ve listened to a particular song or album , or you can share where you’ve been listening.

10.) With the Open Graph platform, Facebook’s algorithm will help provide the content that everyone is engaging in and help weed out the information that people are finding annoying. Personally, I think we could all use less FarmVille in our feed and use more worthwhile conversations and engaging content. This is good!

11.) There will now be a banner at the top of a page that you can easily post, crop, edit, and publish. It will not replace the profile picture, but will be in addition to on your profile page. See this picture below:

11.) Facebook will basically function as a comprehensive scrapbook. Currently, all your previous content gets lost from a feed after a few hours or a day. Now, your memories will be stored, organized, and arranged in one place.

 

This is big.

 

I think most people are going to wig out at the changes, but I personally think it is going to be good.

 

For clearer descriptions of the changes, head on over to Mashable to get the full stories of all the changes that are rolling out. Or, you can read a play-by-play commentary here. I’d love for you to share your thoughts. I want to hear your first reaction(s)…

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Everyone has their opinions of Facebook.  Most think it is fantastic for all of it’s functionality and features, some think it is a waste of time, and some don’t understand it at all.  What I wanted to throw out there tonight was a challenge to all of us who are striving to follow God.

My question: How easy is it to judge people on Facebook?  We can think in our head while reading someone’s status and think “wow, jimmie is a nut job” or “I can’t believe julia said that – I thought she was smarter than that” or “she should grow up and not spend so much time on Facebook”.  Now, I will say that some of those critiques are actually legitimate thoughts and that sometimes there is no wrong doing on your part when thoughts like these arise.  Some people just post certain updates to get a reaction from people (ex/ “George W. Bush (or Barack Obama) is a terrorist and a Nazi and hates America”).  However, often times we can actually be doing wrong on these social networking sites and we can completely miss it every night.

My observation is that many people who are the typical facebook judgers are the ones who do not post frequently, but are on the site with just as much frequency as others.  They are simply the people who look through photos for long periods of time, read other people’s profile pages, etc.  My point is not that there is anything wrong with that, just that we should be aware of our hearts and minds when reading through people’s posts.  Sometimes we (and I say “we” because I’ve participated in this unfortunate act) can go looking for the latest gossip and have some poor motives while mindlessly cruising the internet.  There is so much that could be behind the reason that someone is posting something.  Maybe that person is in need of attention (and not recognizing it).  Maybe they want to persuade you of something.  Or…maybe they simply find something entertaining or interesting.

Maybe the real reason for the judgment is that there is envy.  Maybe you wish you had more time and could “waste” it on facebook.  Maybe you wish you had more friends or that you had a bigger influence.  Scott Williams posted today saying maybe you have IOI, meaning you find yourself “Irritated on the Inside” at other people.  There is nothing wrong with feeling irritated, but letting that irritation turn into judgment is where I believe the problem can lie.  I think the emphasis has to be empathy, as always.  This is what Jesus advocates for in a frequently quoted passage from Matthew 7:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

If there is actually a problem that you feel needs addressed, the correct response would be to actually privately talk to the person about things they were posting that you found offensive, inappropriate, or that they had some malicious purpose to them.

A new friend on twitter wrote me today and said, “We’re all fighting for significance.”  Sometimes our hearts can be filled with envy or pride and we can completely miss it, even with something as stupid as logging on to facebook late at night to read some mindless activities of friends.  So – check your heart, make sure it’s right, and continue to enjoy facebook, twitter, and all these other fun sites for connecting with friends.

15 Books

June 9, 2009 — Leave a comment

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The latest “tagging” of notes on facebook is people sharing the 15 most influential books on their lives they can think of in 15 minutes.  I normally avoid things like this, but I was interested in some of my friends picks and decided to do it myself.  I thought for those that follow me here and not on facebook, I would share it here.  Here are the 15 books that will stick with me for the rest of my life (which I noticed afterward was more reflective of “books I’ve enjoyed after my first year out of college”):

1. Velvet Elvis – Rob Bell
2. Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
3. The Rise of the Creative Class – Richard Florida
4. Tribes – Seth Godin
5. The Shack – William Paul Young
6. Artist Management Manual – Jeremy Rwakaara
7. Worship Matters – Bob Kauflin
8. All You Need to Know About the Music Business – Donald Passman
9. Adventures in Missing the Point – Brian Mclaren and Tony Campolo
10. UnChristain – David Kinnaman
11. Wisdom for a Young CEO – David Berry
12. Jesus for President – Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw
13. How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth – Gordon D. Fee
14. I Am America and So Can You – Stephen Colbert
15. When I Don’t Desire God How to Fight for Joy – John Piper

It’s interesting! You should do it too.  Here is a link to the conversation on facebook or you can comment here.  Recommendations welcomed!

faith-out

I got an email tonight about a promotion for a new social networking site for Christians called “FaithOut”.  It said, “Users can upload all their favorite photos, tag their friends and family, share videos and music and find others around similar spiritual interests.”  First off, I don’t really care to try and find people with similar “spiritual interests”.  What does that mean?  “Hey look!  This person totally loves to speak in tongues! Let’s be friends!” lol.  Trying to get Christians to go to a separate place for a phenomenon that breaks out “in the world” is nothing new, though.  I’m sure you’ve heard of GodTube, which started as the Christian alternative to YouTube. Really?  Why would us as Christians do this? Continue Reading…