Survey Results Are In

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on January 15, 2013

in Diocese, ministry, parish, religious communities, social media, website

New Year hug-club-clip-art-335Thank you to everyone who took time to complete the 2013 Catholic Web Solutions survey which I posted on this site last week.

The link at the end of this post will take you to the results summary including the responses to the open ended questions (click on “Show replies” to see these).

I did not include the responses of those who volunteered to be interviewed for a future blog as that response included names and emails. If you volunteered to share your experience, but did not give your name and email, please contact me directly at swolf[at]catholicwebsolutions[dot]com so that I can include you in the 2013 interview schedule.  I am looking forward to my interviews with the volunteers and sharing with our readers their experiences with a variety of ministry-based internet and social media activities.

Click here to read the Summary and Responses

After you read the responses, please feel free to share your insights or additions in the comments below.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa Hendey January 15, 2013 at 9:05 am

I missed out on responding but am happy to help with an interview or anything else you need in 2013. Thanks for providing the responses – very interesting!

Jean Ponder Soto January 15, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Wow! The survey shows a very engaged and media wise group. To me the most interesting response was the one that showed Catholic engagement with social media as the most important goal for 56% of the responders. This was the highest goal response. The desire to know what works and what does not in many different kinds of social media suggests the need for some kind of a connecting platform for Catholic media users. A Sister Susan Facebook page? Most respondents were already users of FB.
May all the goals be met this New Year!

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND January 16, 2013 at 6:59 am

Thanks, Lisa. I will add you to the interview list.

Thanks for your enthusiastic analysis, Jean. While this was a very small sample, the survey does tell us that there are people in ministry reaching out over the Internet and seeking to get better at it. This is good news to me as well.

For those who may be interested, there is a group on LinkedIn called Association of Catholics Exploring Social Media which discusses questions raised by the members. Take a look at it, you may want to join (free).

Susan Timoney January 16, 2013 at 9:03 am

We are all rally all the time at the moment and I failed ot respond but also happy to be interviewed!

Fran Rossi Szpylczyn January 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm

This is great – thank you so much! I did respond to the survey, but would be happy to speak with you at any time.

John January 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm

The most interesting response for me was that PERSONAL MINISTRIES are the most eager to better utilize social media, even more so than parishes and dioceses. This is EXACTLY what I’ve been working on for the last year or so. I began with a Catholic events website which I hoped would offer grass-roots, below-the-radar Catholic ministries an effective free advertising venue. It was well-received by a few retreat houses, but languished because people were not delivering content. I solved that problem by building a new site,, which aggregates feeds from across the Catholic net. It gets 4 times the traffic of my first site, but 40 unique visitors a day simply isn’t good enough. Then I set up a Facebook Page, to drive traffic to my site. I’ve added hundreds of peace-and-justice oriented orders, soup kitchens, pro-life, Catholic worker houses, etc. to my Facebook feed. Its working better than my site and has a number of advantages over a stand-alone website! So FB it is! Next problem: HOW DO I FIND THESE GRASS-ROOTS BELOW-THE-RADAR MINISTRIES? Probably most of them don’t have Facebooks. They’ll need to be persuaded to do one, and let me act as publicist. If I can find an organizational sponsor, who can cut me a paycheck, I’m willing to do this full-time. I’m not in a position to do it for free.

Jean Ponder Soto January 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Hi John, Jean here. Thanks for pointing out the Personal Ministry social media users as the most eager users. And thanks for your great tip on using Facebook. I hope you get a sponsor, we so need people like you!

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND January 16, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Thanks Susan and Fran. I will also add you to the Interview list.

John, thanks for a recap of the challenges you have faced and how you have kept at it. It is my experience that many ministers do not have time, interest or funds for online activities. Or they report to leaders who do not see it as a worthwhile investment. Unless ministers see this as important and leaders see it an essential tool in today’s world, we won’t get very far.

John January 16, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Jean & Susan, the beauty of Facebook is it’s free, it’s low-maintenance and it’s not going to crash. My sites are both hosted on a web server space that I pay a nominal sum for, less than $4 a month. But the incidental expenses add up: yearly domain name renewal, occasional software expenses, even if you use free open-source CMS. And the biggest headache is the never-ending learning curve with server-space management, and the need to establish back-up protocols. Facebook also has build in analytics, not very good, but adequate. I’m using a Facebook Page, which I recommend, not a personal profile, which doesn’t include the analytics. You don’t need to buy ads on Facebook, but if you have a budget, it’s easy. Buying Likes is highly effective, but expensive. You can buy ad impressions very cheaply. I don’t like Facebook Groups, but it’s the recommended way to make Friends. You must be very careful making Friends. Facebook can penalize you if you’re trying to make Friends with people you don’t know in real life. They consider it harassment. Go slow.

One person in ministry told me she considered Facebook “dangerous”. Well, I’m wary of software that offers to post on my behalf, but you can disable that kind of app if you wish, or don’t use them at all.

Another nice feature: you can link your Facebook to Twitter, and Twitter to Facebook. My posts and pix are automatically added to my Twitter feed. I had my tweets going to my Facebook for a while. I decided it looked a little spammy and turned that off.

John January 16, 2013 at 4:10 pm

I also have some tips for using Twitter. I’ll post them later.

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