I am not a Facebook person.
I’ll acknowledge that I did stay up to 12:01 on June 13 and I did become www.facebook.com/jnswanson, but that is just about keeping my brand intact (email, twitter, flickr, tumblr, and other things that no longer exist). But I have been much more connected to social media platforms outside Facebook.
When I have come inside the pages of The Book, I have been somewhat frustrated with all the games and quizzes and “how well do you know me.” I have limited the number of people that I have friended, primarily because I lack the energy to connect as well as one ought to with all the people I have known across the years.
What led to this shift?
1. I keep having conversations with people in real life who are continuing conversations started in status updates. In contrast to the many Twitter conversations I have with people far away, these are intensely local, mixing off and online. We want to be available for those conversations.
2. There are many people who come to our building on Sundays but who miss pieces of what is going on. How we help them catch up is always a challenge. I realized that I keep seeing some of them on Facebook.
3. We have moved from print to an enewsletter, but there are many people who change emails, who seldom check email. While I was trying to figure out how to connect to some of these people, I realized that some of them were my friends on Facebook.
So, after getting some advice on Twitter, we started a page on Thursday. I invited everyone from our congregation that were already my friends. I included a link in our enewsletter.
As of Saturday night, we have 49 friends.
We’ll keep it simple at first. We’ll let people know when the podcast goes up each week We’ll let people know when the enewsletter goes out. (And if the link is a bit.ly link, I’ll know how many people clicked) We’ll let people know what the next Sunday’s sermon is. We’ve already put up video about worship and service. And we’ve started putting up pictures from the previous week’s events.
A couple final observations.
1. The intention of the page is to help people who are part of the physical congregation stay connected throughout the week. To use unspiritual language, rather than being primarily about external marketing, this is about internal customer service. However, we will be incredibly aware of people who are looking in on Grabill Missionary Church or on church in general.
2. We’ll remember that only some of our congregation attend Facebook. Others attend email, snail mail, small groups, Sunday school, and other communication and fellowship settings. This will force redundancy, which will be healthy.
3. We’ll stay focused on people rather than platforms. Our passion is not on connecting to new technologies. Our passion is connecting people to God and to each other. This new page will probably help. But if it doesn’t, we’ll blow it up.
So what do you think? Are we thinking about this the right way?