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Defining Social Media

There are a number of great social media tutorials on YouTube and Slideshare.net. A simple view is that social media are web and mobile device-based tools for sharing. Some basic characteristics of social media include:

  • Listening to what members and others are saying, about their congregation, the ELCA as a denomination, “being Lutheran” and about what is going on in their lives. Members are able to post text, images, sound and video in easily accessible ways, so following them online can provide helpful community insights.
  • Posting useful, inspiring text, images, audio and/or video on a regular basis.
  • Commenting on the posts of others.
  • Sharing, pointing others to information and resources that may be of help to them.

Some congregations are abandoning traditional websites and doing all their online communication through social media sites like Facebook; others use their website as the place where they bring all their social media initiatives together in one spot: announcements from Twitter, calendar from Google, photos from Flickr and videos from YouTube. As Facebook features expand, it may be less necessary to use separate sites for photos, videos and groups. Facebook is already the most popular photo-sharing site.

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Social Media and Congregations

Strategies, Guidelines, Best Practices and Resources