About the Author
Shelby Meyerhoff

Getting started with Twitter

Twitter is a short messaging service (SMS) that allows users to send short text messages to a large group of readers. Readers may view their messages on their cell phone or on the internet, and may reply to messages. Posts are “tagged” with relevant keywords; tags are formed by using the # symbol directly preceding the keyword.  For example, #uu can be used to denote a post about Unitarian Universalism.

Congregational leaders may use a Twitter feed to highlight congregational news, share weekly meditations, promote upcoming events, or otherwise provide content that serves newcomers and keeps members engaged in the life of the congregation.

The UUA started using Twitter in October 2008.  Since then, we’ve seen our follower base grow, to over 700 followers today. We use the UUA Twitter feed to share links to UUA news stories, meditations, and other resources that are relevant to Unitarian Universalists and seekers.

Congregations may be concerned about the amount of time required to manage a Twitter feed. A Twitter feed should be updated on a regular basis and questions from followers should be answered in a timely manner. But while fulfilling these responsibilities requires consistency and attention, it need not require vast amounts of time.

However, Twitter can be more time consuming if it used to post original content (rather than links to existing content), to provide multiple updates in a single day, or to engage in deeper conversations with followers. Congregational leaders and religious professionals can discern if the potentially more significant benefits of extended engagement with Twitter make it worthwhile to invest more time.

Here are some more examples of how the UUA and Unitarian Universalist congregations are using Twitter:

For General Assembly (GA) 2009, the UUA set up an event-specific Twitter feed and encouraged the use of #uuga2009 by anyone Twittering about GA.

In addition, Beacon Press, Standing on the Side of Love, and UU World have their own successful Twitter feeds.

And congregations and ministers are using Twitter too! Examples include the Twitter feed for Rev. Naomi King of the River of Grass UU Congregation in Plantation, Florida; the Twitter feed for Kitsap UU Fellowship of Bremerton, Washington; or the Twitter feed for UU Fellowship of Elkhart, Indiana.


The UUA's Twitter Feed
The UUA's Twitter Feed

Getting started with Facebook

Facebook is a social networking site for individuals and organizations.

The UUA has a page on Facebook, as do many groups within the UUA, including the following:  Advocacy and Witness, Beacon Press, Central Midwest District, Church of the Younger Fellowship, CLF Unitarian Universalist Military Ministries,  Heartland District, International Resources Office, the Mosaic Project, Prairie Star District, Skinner House Books, Standing on the Side of Love,  Thomas Jefferson District, UU World, and the UUA’s Youth and Young Adult Ministries Office.

Many congregations also have Facebook pages. UU World recently described the efforts of several congregations in Michelle Deakin’s article, “Dallas, Atlanta UU churches make ‘friends’ on Facebook.

Congregational leaders interested in examples of how congregations are using Facebook can also search Facebook for “Unitarian,” or check out the following Facebook pages: Northwest Community Unitarian Universalist Church and Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Church.

One of the UUA’s most popular new media resources is our “Dos and Don’ts for Unitarian Universalist Congregations using Facebook,“ which provides advice on creating, administering and promoting congregational Facebook pages.

The UUA's Facebook page
The UUA's Facebook page


Thank you for visiting the UUA’s new media blog. This blog will provide information on using new media to promote Unitarian Universalism and UUA congregations. We’ll discuss specific new media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs, as well as general principles and strategies for new media use.

Readers involved in any aspect of congregational life are welcome to participate.  This blog will benefit from the comments and questions of congregational staff, webmasters, communications committee members, religious education teachers, and other leaders using technology to advance their congregation’s programs and ministry.

The blog will begin with a series of “Getting Started” posts covering each of the major new media tools currently in use by UUA congregations. These posts will include basic definitions of each tool, so that newcomers to these technologies can learn and comment, along with more experienced new media users.

Readers can also look forward to posts from the staff of the UUA Office of Electronic Communications related to new media use by the UUA and Unitarian Universalist congregations.