Is Your Church Media Social?

Social: Marked by pleasant companionship with friends ... tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships. (Merriam-Webster)

As one who teaches about social media, you would think that I'd be happy that more and more churches, religious leaders, and organizations are using social media. They have heard the stats (1 billion people on facebook! 1/2 a million tweets every day). And so, realizing the capabilities of these platforms, they have jumped on board.

But once on social media, they've done nothing but talk about themselves. "Come to our event! Buy my book! Visit our website! Read my blog!"

Here's an analogy to help see that this looks like.

Let's go to a party. A big room full of people, talking about shared interests and getting to know one another. As you walk into the party, you notice that there are three types of people. There are the people who are standing on the wall, choosing to not talk to anyone. There are the people having a great time, moving from group to group and enjoying one another. 
And then there is the guy (it's always a guy for some reason) moving from group to to group, talking about himself. He has a story for every occasion - he is the hero in these stories, of course. If you know about something, he knows more. And if you manage to get in a word edgewise, you can tell that he is not really listening - he's thinking about what he will say next. 

No one likes "that guy" at the party. He will go home, likely convinced that he was the life of the party, but in reality he caused everyone else to have less fun.

Too many churches sit on the sidelines of social media, refusing to join the party - and that's not a good place to be. But once convinced to jump in, many become the loud guy just talking about himself. Not listening to what others are saying, always talking about ourselves. That is not social media - that is broadcast media. And if there is one thing people love about social media, it is that it is not broadcast media. 

So who are you / your church / your orginazation at the social media party: the wallflower, the loud guy ruining the party for everyone else, or the ones enjoying the social interaction? 

Is your social media social?

(Up next: Signs that your social media might really be broadcast media)