Wednesday, September 3, 2014

About Social Media

About Social Media

I’ve heard other clergy claim that they plan to “have nothing to do with” social media. I suspect what they mean is that they wish to not start a facebook or twitter account, and are hoping to avoid dealing with a personal online presence.
Here’s what I’m thinking: it’s too late. Whether or not we want to be present on the internet, we are already there. Pastors are present and findable via internet search because our names are associated with our church, our photos are posted whenever we conduct a wedding, and we are listed in obituaries whenever we conduct a funeral. These and other digital references are happening, whether or not we are aware of them, so the advantage of participating in social media at least a little bit is twofold – you have a better grasp of how you are being represented online, and you can add your own perspective and stories instead of relying solely on others.

In addition, social media can be an excellent communication tool. Like all communications, how social media is used determines how effective it is. I think it was in Junior High that I was taught the two components of effective communication: 1) message sent, and 2) message received. Social media provides opportunities to both send and receive information.

As one of the two main curators of our church’s official information channels, my job is to choose wisely so we reach our desired audience effectively. This includes planning ahead and utilizing several tools so we create neither a dry spell nor a flood of communications. 

I find in Church communications that when I rely exclusively on the print newsletter and bulletin and spoken announcements from the pulpit, our information stream can have significant gaps in it. Adding social media to our information stream helps fill in gaps, engage people in new ways, and gives some of our members tools to invite others to participate.

While there are number of places a person can go to learn about how to use social media in the Church, I really really appreciate UMCommunications. Here’s a link to some of their information about social media:
Current articles at this site include Instagram, blogging, and text messaging.

Today's garden photo is from Baton Rouge, LA.The garden is across the street from First UMC - I love the garden name!!!! You might enjoy the church's website,

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