Tag Archives: twitter

Evangelism in the digital age

On Monday, the House of Deputies adopted resolution B009, related to digital evangelism; now it goes to the House of Bishops. This topic seemed to energize several deputies and other Episcopalians using Twitter, to the point that their internet friends who are not Episcopalian started tweeting to ask about it. Watch the Twitter conversation unfold in the slideshow below. Watch the discussion on the floor of the House by clicking play in the video on the 3rd slide; move the slider at the bottom to about 3:05:00 to begin near where the discussion on B009 starts.


Despite his wariness of technology, the Rt. Rev. Scott Mayer decided to try Twitter. This decision was met by a chorus of support from Episcopalians and his fellow bishops on Twitter, and he had coaching from the most qualified member of the Fort Worth deputation, @GodWelcomesAll, the Rev. Jordan Haynie Ware.

Heads up, Episcotweeps – @jscottmayer is in the House (of Bishops)!

 

The Social Media Challenge, Resolution D069, as seen from afar

Something interesting happened at General Convention, and even though I am not present in Indy, I have followed resolution D069 and am compelled to write about it. D069 is, in spirit and intent, a sibling resolution to A025. These resolutions read:

A025 passed by the House of Deputies: “Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, that the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church challenges every congregation in The Episcopal Church to have an effective, dynamic and current website by 2015.”

D069: “Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church challenge every diocese and congregation in The Episcopal Church to actively engage social media in its current and future manifestations.”

You may need these definitions:

GC77: the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church
Chsocm: church social media
OYP: official youth presence
Tweep: person on twitter

Before I went to sleep last night I read a Twitter conversation (yes, all conversations in Twitter are public, except for Direct Messages). It started with this proposal:

Caroline Carson ‏@Conductor222 @TheRevEJ @stevepankey I suggested testifying about soc media VIA soc media! I think that wld be great! #keepmeposted

The Rev. Erin Jean ‏@TheRevEJ Abt DO69-Someone cld take their 2 mins to share testimonies offered via twitter? #GC77 testimonies could use hashtag #do69? @stevepankey ?

Affirmations that “testimony by Twitter” was an idea worth pursuing rolled in. Tweeps, from far and wide, listening to #GC77 conversation on Twitter, started chiming in with their thoughts about the importance of the church’s participation in social media.  Now, if you think this conversation was just by young adults at convention, but you’re mistaken. Bishops, grandparents, older people proclaiming their advanced age, teenagers from the Official Youth Presence, folks from everywhere chatted about #D069 online late into the night and beginning again in the early morning.  They shared their ideas in 140 characters or less. They tweeted links to their blogs where they had already written about social media’s role in the church today.  Some wrote new blog posts to give information to those who would speak at the morning committee hearing.

I put my personal thoughts out there after 11pm Texas Time, using my Twitter handle @skwechter, in 140-character-or-less chunks, but I’ll kindly spare you the text-message shorthand I used:

  • Episcopalians have always used available technology for evangelism.
  • Social media isn’t a quirky playground, it can be used strategically.
  • Church social media is as much an idea space as a coffee shop is, full of conversation between real people separated by geography and time.
  • Social media puts a church/christian where people ALREADY are.
  • “Willful ignorance” of social media is no longer an option.
  • Demographically, the younger people TEC needs to reach often DON’T WANT to be reached by email.
  • Don’t use http://episcopalchurch.org  as example of socially integrated website; the only way to get info is email subscription.
  • episcopalchurch.org and its email-only media releases showcase how to be completely disengaged from 2012 Cchurch social media (yes, I really tweeted that).
  • There’s so much ground to cover with church social media that our churches need to be challenged to enter the social media arena.
  • Wake up the Official Youth Presence to speak about church social  media relevance.
  • A priest friend says “I’ve done more ministry through my blog and Facebook than any other way since retiring.”

Then I went to bed.

Before I made it to my keyboard late this morning, I knew something interesting had happened, because my phone buzzed. There was a Twitter direct message from DioFW seminarian Jordan Haynie (@GodWelcomesAll); she had quoted me in testimony before the Communications Committee.  Great, I thought, hopefully not the jabs at episcopalchurch.org about their frustrating lack of social media integration on their brand-spanking-new website.  But I learned from following #GC77 on Twitter that something remarkable had happened in the 07:35am communications committee hearings this morning.  Here are some of the Twitter conversation and before, during, and after the hearings:

@TheRevEJ RT @stevepankey: #D069 tweetup #GC77 http://t.co/UB24r3Rd   (ßThat’s a picture)

@#amyphaynie #gc77 #chosm twitter allows me to be present in one committee while “listening in” on others and praying for those also.

@billjoseph “While parishes may not be on FB and Twitter, there are people on FB and Twitter who are not in our parishes”. Well said #D069 #GC77

@Conductor222 #d069 Twitter is enabling me to feel like I have a voice even though I’m not at #GC77 I have a vested interest & it helps.

@stevepankey “Our baptismal covenant challenges us to take Jesus where people are, and people are online.” #OYP at #D069 tweetup #GC77

@EPFYoungAdults #d069 what we do is talk about Jesus. The Church has always mastered communication and we need to master this media. #weneedchange #gc77

@EMjennielle This  RT @Conductor222: @TheRevEJ #DO69-blog post on#GC77 & Social Media. Hope y’all find it useful/interesting:http://t.co/iDwPBOTC

@EPFYoungAdults #d069 Episcopal generations speaks to the need for youth and elders to inform each other. #weneedchange #gc77

@episcovol My 3rd GC as an observer from my nursing chair (w 4 different babes) #GC75 #GC76-mostly bloggers #GC77 tweeters have brought it closer #D069

@Conductor222 #chsocm #DO69 #GC77 Relationships are being formed that are affecting me positively in my faith & theological development, I am inspired!

@PamelaGRW “Jesus went out into the marketplace” The marketplace right now is online. #GC77 #D069

@GodWelcomesAll Chair Sherrod: Twitter turned out more people for this hearing than we’ve had for any other. #gc77 #d069 #chsocm #benotafraid

@EPFYoungAdults  @TheRevEJ social media is not an addition 2 evangelism. It is evangelism. It’s the language of the future we need to learn.#gc77 #d069

@scottagunn @KatieSherrod3, chair of cmte, suggests that we change sign-in sheet to include twitter handles. #GC77 #GettingModern

@JosephPMathews we want to be clear that social media should not replace face2face communication. #gc77 #benotafraid #D069

@stevepankey: “Our baptismal covenant challenges us to take Jesus where people are, and people are online.” #OYP at #D069 tweetup #GC77

@EPFYoungAdults: #d069 Episcopal generations speaks to the need for youth and elders to inform each other. #weneedchange #gc77

@GodWelcomesAll Chair Sherrod just referenced trolls as she names community policing as a safeguard. #gc77 #d069 #benotafraid

@TheRevEJ No one showed up to speak against #do69 … That’s the future!#GC77

@theologybird: #D069 goes forward with motion to adopt. #GC77

@colinmchapman   @scottagunn forgot to mention that @katiesherrod3 also spoke out against trolls #gc77 #thingsyouneverthoughtyoudhereinTEC

@KatieSherrod3 #gc77 The Twitterverse showed up at our Communications hearing. Wonderful testimony and witnessing! http://t.co/Rq8HhjiG

@dianabutlerbass: #GC77 I’m (way) over 35, love words & nuanced ideas & I tweet! Loving that this GC is available via social media. More, please!

Being at home instead of Indy, I don’t know whether the committee needed much convincing, since they had already grappled with A025. But the committee’s decision to send D069 forward was heartening, cementing their belief in the relevance of newer communication channels to the ministry of our church. The creative way in which people of all ages from all places collaborated to fuel the speakers who awoke early to stand before a microphone in a hearing was inspring.  #GettingModern #BeNotAfraid #WeNeedChange #ThingsYouWillHearMoreAboutInTEC #AndGodGrinned

 

Tweeting about the Episcopal General Convention

A short primer on Twitter, suitable for any deputation, but written for @diofw tweeps

by Susan Kleinwecher, social media coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth

Convention deputies and anyone tweeting about convention will use a personal accounts, not our diocesan twitter account @diofw. We want a lot of voices tweeting!

@DioFW on Twitter!

Getting Started: At twitter.com, create an account, select a username, and in your profile, upload a photo that looks like you.  In your account settings, do NOT protect your tweets (you may change that in a month).

Tutorial: Good Twitter Tutorial from gcflearnfree.org

Connect with the diocese: search for and follow @diofw. @diofw will add all tweeters in our deputation to a public, subscribable twitter list: @diofw/GC77. The list aggregate our voices. Other people can subscribe to it. Here’s how! to subscribe to/follow other people’s lists:

At the start (starting now): Start listening to the conversation! Search  #gc77 in the twitter search box. Follow people you want to hear more from, find other hashtags that interest you #episcopal #tweeps.  Learn how to retweet (RT), reply & mention (@reply & @mention), send a direct message (DM), subscribe to a list.  Go to twitter help  https://support.twitter.com/ and search for an unfamilar term.

https://support.twitter.com/articles/49309-what-are-hashtags-symbols
https://support.twitter.com/articles/20169873-how-to-retweet-a-tweet
https://support.twitter.com/articles/14023-what-are-replies-and-mentions
https://support.twitter.com/articles/20169555-send-and-receive-direct-messages
https://support.twitter.com/articles/76460-how-to-use-twitter-lists

Contribute to convention dialogue:  When we are tweeting about General Convention, we will use the hashtag #CG77 in every tweet. Every. Single. Time.  In fact, lead with it, so you don’t forget (voice of experience).

What are hashtags? Hashtags, indicated by the hash or pound mark “#” provide a way to track messages associated with a topic; think of them as a keyword to search for. Consider your target audience when using hashtags; they are there for tracking, not for fluff, although that does not inhibit creativity! Use #gc77 for information related to the 2012 Episcopal General Convention. See what hashtags others are using, either from twitter or using a web service like (twittterfall.com) – you will see #churchgrowth #drama #budget #conventionprobs #PHOD

“Dang!” you exclaim when you grapple with the fact that Twitter limits your messages to 140 characters. You’ll get the hang of it without looking like a teenager; most of it is phonetic, so moving your lips helps.

Best Practices: One of the best uses of Twitter is to tweet about blog entries, with a “topical tease to read” introduction and a shortened URL link to your blog entry. Typical URL shorteners are bit.ly http://bitly.com/ and goo.gl http://goo.gl/ Copy the shortened URL into your tweet, so it looks like this: “Light bulb ON at #gc77 lunch http://goo.gl/9agxG & now I undrstand the lingo”

Use #diofw if you want us to track your comments there or track comments about us.

Subscribe to our public deputy list @diofw/gc77. Subscribe a list of tweeters employed by TEC using  @diofw/TEC-Tweeters. This tells article describes how to subscribe to lists: https://support.twitter.com/articles/76460-how-to-use-twitter-lists

Go Mobile: When you’re comfortable with using Twitter in your browser, get it on your smartphone by downloading the app for Android, iPhone, Blackberry, or Windows Phone 7. No smartphone? You can still tweet – read https://support.twitter.com/articles/14589-getting-started-with-twitter-via-sms and http://support.twitter.com/articles/14020-twitter-sms-commands. However, there is no mechanism to search for hashtags using SMS (probably because the message volume would be overwhelming).

Handy Tips: Consider a handy service called Twitterfall at twitterfall.com. In Twitterfall’s searches box, type #gc77 and “add” it. You can change the color scheme if you like, making searches and lists different colors. Add list @diofw/gc77 and @diofw/TEC-Tweeters. Updates come every 30 seconds or so.  Many find that tracking #episcopal is overwhelming!

What other handy tips do you have to share about Twitter for General Convention?

Who, me? You say I should “be social” at General Convention?

The Strategy of Using Social Media at the Episcopal General Convention

by Susan Kleinwecher, social media coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth

The 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church brings the opportunity for participants to share so much of their experiences in the governance of TEC and the shaping of the future of the church. And it is vital to do so, in ways perhaps unfamiliar to many. It’s insufficient in 2012 to simply go home and write a 2-page article and publish it along with the rest of your July news and email or snail-mail it to your normal recipients. Yes, by all means, do that, but do more, and do it during General Convention.

The “more” is important. It is vital to the life of our church in a time that we so clearly need to grow and reach further, especially to younger audiences, ones that will become the leadership of our church. It is vital to help “folks at home” understand the topics and discussions and decisions that shape our church.  It is important that we do this in a social context, because that’s where our reach is both strategic and effective.

It is heartening that so many dioceses have launched their convention publishing initiatives and sites, realizing why social media coverage is so important now:

  • Social networking has twice the click-throughs as email, reaching more of your audience.
  • Conversation about a subject engages more people than reporting about a subject.
  • Pictures and videos elicit more engagement than other forms of digital publication.
  • Social networking is a powerhouse for encouraging online engagement, improving and driving how people connect to your information.
  • When people feel more connected, they participate more and give more.

When we embrace and follow a new model of engagement and conversation, while not abandoning less timely, traditionally authoritative ones, we won’t leave any listeners behind, and we’ll grow new ones. It’s win-win.

Serious nonprofits use the social web in intentional ways, not as a gimicky playground, but as part of a larger communications strategy, driven by solid content.  Add to the content.  Be social at General Convention, on social media, perhaps in ways that are new to you.  Check in using Facebook or Foursquare so your peeps know you made it. Blog; perhaps enjoy the brevity of Tumblr. Post to Facebook, and Tweet about it all with hashtag #gc77. By all means, point us to your blogging on Twitter using #gc77 and a link shortened with bitly.com or goo.gl. Pin your good visual stuff, and tag it so we can find it. Add your ideas to the commentary every way you can.

The Church will be richer for the experiences and information you share in a timely manner and in newer ways.