Last week we briefly explored the popularity of social media and provided some “baby steps” to help church leaders who are not already familiar with social media get started. In the article I suggested starting with social media by getting to know the undisputed leader— Facebook.
Now that you have spent some time getting to know your way around Facebook, there are a handful of other social media websites that would also be worthwhile experiencing. By gaining a basic understanding of these sites you will then be in a position, as a leader, to begin thinking about social media as a tool for ministry.
Significant social media sites:
- Twitter – Twitter is a service that allows users to ‘send’ text messages of no more than 140 characters. Each of these messages are referred to as “tweets.” Each tweet is broadcast in real time and also stored for viewing later. While this may not sound very exciting at first— Twitter is actually a very powerful platform for exchanging messages, pictures, videos, and web links.
- Google+ – This service is Google’s entry in the social media arena. Although there are differences g+ in some ways resembles Facebook. While not as popular as Facebook, g+ has a loyal and growing following. Google+ is also important because it is Google! The search giant is aggressively promoting g+ and integrating it into many of Google’s other popular services.
- Pinterest – This social media service resembles a giant bulletin board where users “pin” photos which are often accompanied with comments. A powerful and often used feature is the ability for users to re-pin interesting items. Popular pins can generate strong interest as it is re-pinned from user to user. Pinterest is important because of it’s very strong user base primarily comprised of women.
- YouTube – While it may come as a surprise to many, YouTube is considered to be a social media service. This is because YouTube is interactive: users can easily share videos, comment on videos, and even post videos responses. The growing importance of video on the internet can not be understated… and YouTube is leading the charge. One word of caution: YouTube has an annoying tendency of displaying inappropriate material. While there are ways of minimizing accidental exposure to such material it is difficult to avoid altogether.
- Instagram – Instagram is a popular social photo sharing service that functions in a way reminiscent to twitter. Instagram is widely popular with young people. For more on Instagram check out this recent Why We Web article: Why I Instagram.
By gaining a basic working knowledge of the above listed social media services you will have the needed foundation of knowledge of to begin developing a plan to integrate social media into your ministry.
In a future post I will share with you some tips for developing such a plan…