Technology or People?

Esurance has some catchy ads running right now…

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Watch at the :27 mark…

Technology when you want it. People when you don’t.

This perception limits the pervasiveness of social media in many industries. I find this to be especially true in the local church. Social media has the ability to allow more church members than ever to be informed and up to speed on church events, philosophies, news, schedule changes, and other information. However, this information cannot reach those not plugged in.

The “real people” behind the social media efforts of churches have a completely informed membership as their ultimate goal. As such, “people” are their objective and responsibility.

At church, we are just beginning to delve into the various ways that social media can inform and uplift our faith family. Our Facebook page is used to get information to our followers, and our webpage and Twitter are the “public face” of the church in our (virtual) community (geographically, our community includes Scott Air Force base and its constantly changing population). And, as the Minister of Music and Outreach and the person in charge of such efforts, I can guarantee that this “person” is very intentional about using technology in a very personal way.

The point the commercial makes is an important one. It is important that we make our online resources as user-friendly as possible, so that more and more people will use them. I learned this lesson recently in regards to our webpage. In order to control information, I put a password on the Members section of I did this so that our member-specific information (such as facility request forms and audition applications) were out of sight to the non-member. What I accomplished was quite different. I managed to lock out the majority of our membership that did not know the password! We published the password in our literature, but not everyone got the message. The password is no longer there, but I wonder how many people were turned off by the lack of access.

Bottom line: everything we do in the church needs to be for the Church. Social media in particular and technology in general can be considered impersonal. We need to use it wisely.

For further reading… LifeWay Research finds churches increasingly fans of Facebook, other social media.