I am a relative newbie when it comes to social media (SM). My involvement with SM came as a result of a discussion we had in an elders meeting surrounding the potential benefit of SM for the church. In November of last year, I plunged into Twitter and paid more attention to Facebook.
Since my investigation was aimed at how SM could benefit the church, I would like to offer the following thoughts as churches consider using Social Media.
- There will be an increase of what some are calling “digital natives,” those who have never known a time without the internet and electronic communication. As a result, SM are the primary tools for communication for a increasing segment of the population. I was at an organizational meeting for a summer mission group recently where most of the participants agreed that Facebook was the preferred method of communication among the team.
- More people prefer to have information pushed to them as opposed to having to go looking for it. Twitter and Facebook can be used to push information to users. This saves people the effort of going to a web site and looking for the information they need.
- SM allow for a sense of community because they are interactive. People can post responses and engage in spontaneous conversation. We are called to build relationships with other believers and reach out to those who do not believe. SM is a tool to do this effectively.
- SM can provide near real-time response to issues and questions as they arise. In our electronic society, this speed is expected.
- Twitter forces brevity with its 140 character limit. Churches can get out a short message with a link to a registration form or web page if additional information in necessary. The benefit is that people don’t need to spend a lot of time wading through information that does not pertain to them.
- Facebook and Twitter give the account holders control over how and when they view information. Users can set up notifications and use filters to bring specific information to their attention.
I assume that there are other benefits that I have not included here. Please comment to add other considerations (both positive and negative).