The distinctions between real and virtual interactions aren’t that relevant anymore. Face-to-face conversations are essential for some relationships; virtual conversations meet other needs just as effectively. And for some people, the only way we will reach them with the Good News is online, because they are not in church on Sunday.
In her new book, Social Media Gospel, Sharing the Good News in New Ways, Meredith Gould addresses the fears and excuses that keep people from taking advantage of social media for ministry. She does it with humor and good sense. She tells us very simply: Online communities of faith are real to members who have come to rely on them for inspiration and support. p. 27
Meredith writes that we do not have to use every social media platform available just to be like everyone else. We need to make strategic choices based on what is the best tool for our audience and our particular message. In other words, Meredith advises us to use what works. The other advice she offers is to play with the tools ourselves personally before we start to use them professionally. This is excellent advice. It is how I got started. By “hanging around” the different sites and seeing what others posted and tweeted, I figured out what would work for me.
The second section of the 134-page book deals specifically with “Choosing Social Media.” Chapters 14-19 answer the question Why Choose: Blogging, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube. In these brief chapters, Meredith describes each platform, what it is best used for and how to get started. If you feel lost in the social media world or at a loss to introduce the platforms to others, these chapters will give you a good place to start.
Each chapter ends with a few “Thought Bytes,” which are excellent reflection/discussion questions that help the reader process the information in moving forward. Don’t skip over these.
I consider Meredith a friend. We met online, began communicating over Twitter and have since met IRL (in real life). She knows the world of communications inside out. She knows ministry and has helped non-profits and ministers from different denominations transition into the digital world. She knows how to make us smile. Meredith Gould has done us a great service with this book. I reviewed an advanced copy and I am happy to recommend it to all of you now. It is available in Paperback and on Kindle. You can find it on Amazon.
Have a great rest of the summer. I am taking a little blogging break and will be back again after Labor Day.