About the Author
Shelby Meyerhoff

Advice for Unitarian Universalist ministers on using Foursquare

In her guest post “Foursquare and Ministry” on the UU Growth Blog, Rev. Naomi King of the River of Grass congregation in Plantation, Florida, gives examples of how she is using Foursquare successfully in her ministry. And don’t worry if you’re now wondering, “What is Foursquare?!” King also explains the basics of how this location-based social network works.

Social media trainings for Unitarian Universalists (Spring and Summer 2010)

Looking to learn the basics of using social media to serve your Unitarian Universalist congregation? Or ready for an advanced discussion of congregational social media strategies? There are trainings for both beginners and more experienced social media users coming up this spring and summer. Gather with fellow Unitarian Universalists at these events:

Integrating Social Media for UU Congregations
Tuesday, March 23, 2010, 7:30 PM – 8:45 PM (Eastern)

This webinar presentation and Q & A session we will explore ways to integrate social media tools so content is automatically passed from one tool another. Starting with a traditional monthly newsletter content, participants will be shown how announcements can be shared via a blog format (for fee) and be set up to automatically  be shared via a Facebook page, sent out as a “tweet” on Twitter, and displayed on a congregation’s website. This webinar is sponsored by the UUA’s Ballou Channing District.

“Introduction to Social Media for Unitarian Universalist Leaders” Webinar
Wednesday, April 7, 7pm – 8:30pm (Eastern)

This is a beginner-friendly webinar before the conference that will introduce participants to the basics of different social media tools. Although this webinar is intended as a prelude to the spring conference, it is open to registrants outside the New England area as well! Space is limited and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Social Media Conference for Unitarian Universalists in the New England Area
Saturday, May 1, 9am – 4:30pm
Weston, MA

Social media will be the focus of the Mass Bay District Spring Conference!

General Assembly 2010 Workshop – “Introduction to Social Media and Public Relations”
Thursday, June 24, 9:00am – 10:15am
Minneapolis Convention Center – 205 A-D

At this beginner-friendly workshop, learn the basics of social media (including blogs, Facebook, and Twitter) and public relations. The emphasis will be on practical information and examples to help you further the mission of your congregation through successful communication.

General Assembly 2010 Workshop – “Advanced Social Media”
Friday, June 25, 1:00pm – 2:15pm
Minneapolis Convention Center – 101 DE

Twitter – Facebook – blogs – RSS feeds – handheld apps – all this adds up to so much more than websites and email messaging! This advanced-level panel presentation will cover major social media tools in use by congregations, how ministry occurs through social networks, ethics and safety concerns, trends, and more.

Ferry Beach Religious Education Workshop – “Social Media and Religious Education”
July 10 – July 16
Ferry Beach in Maine

Learn about Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other social media, and how to integrate them in religious education.

Can you suggest any other social media trainings for Unitarian Universalists that should be added to this list? Please comment!

Q: Why should my congregation have a Facebook page when we already have a Website?

As Diane Worten commented in response to the Interconnections article on Facebook and other new media tools, “Why use these when a church already has a website that is accessible via the Internet?”

The short answer is that Facebook has a large userbase and facilitates the viral spread of information among those users. There are several ways that Facebook encourages people to spread page content (including information posted on congregational Facebook pages!):

  1. Facebook delivers information directly to your page fans through the “News Feed” feature, rather than relying on people to remember and visit your page on a regular basis. When fans of your congregation’s page login to Facebook, they see a “News Feed” which includes content posted by their friends and also recent content posted by your congregation.
  2. Facebook also delivers information about your page to people who aren’t fans, but whose friends are. Users can see when their friends interact with your page. They might think “I didn’t know Sam went to church! I’m going to click on that link and find out more!” (or something like that).
  3. A fan of your congregation’s Facebook page can easily share content posted on that page with their other Facebook friends, by clicking the “share” button found underneath posts on a page wall. As Facebook describes it, “When your fans interact with your Facebook Page, stories linking to your Page can go to their friends via News Feed. As these friends interact with your Page, News Feed keeps driving word-of-mouth to a wider circle of friends.”

Because of Facebook so successfully promotes the widespread sharing of content, a congregation can significantly benefit from having a presence on Facebook, even if the congregation already has a website (as most Unitarian Universalist congregations do).