Update on the Social Media Experiment…

by vernsanders on February 16, 2010

The backstory is this…

In April, 2009, my friend Doug Lawrence convinced me–not a social butterfly–to join Facebook. From time to time I’ve updated my progress (here, and here, for instance), and it is time to do so again…

When last I talked about this, I was astounded to find that my progression “through the chairs” in social media led people to look at me as something of a pioneer, or even an expert, even as my plugged-in friends were quick to mock me by calling me an “early adopter” (which, if you haven’t figured it out, is absolutely not true in this context).

This time I’d like to talk about the good news/bad news aspect of social media. (I’ll give away the ending…much more good news than bad…but stay with me…I think the journey is important.)

I should say again that I’m not a social butterfly…some would say more like a social cocoon… :)

The good news is that as I’ve participated more in social media, I’ve become more social. The bad news? It is becoming increasingly hard for me to keep up…to do the very thing that social media is designed to do…be social. My facebook friends, and twitter follower numbers have passed the point where I can keep up with everone’s posts, and, unlike email, the stream goes by so fast that if you blink, you may miss something that is incredibly interesting.

<an aside…note to facebook: the new design has had the impact of reducing my time on your site, in part because every time I want to do something specific, it is not (for me) as intuitive as it was in the old layout…AND, I haven’t taken the time to figure out how to stop the “gifts” posted to my wall in seeming endless profusion, and I get frustrated having to wade through them to read INFORMATION, which is why I liked fb in the first place.>

Social media, at its best, is about social interaction.  As I increased my follower numbers, many little conversations ensued. As my follower numbers increased beyond a certain p0int, those conversations have literally gotten lost…lost in the shuffle, lost in the speed of the stream, and lost because I couldn’t sit there and keep up…even with a great tool like Tweetdeck.

In an earlier post, I wrote about the 1000 true fans model of economics for small businesses and artisans, including church musicians. I have read elsewhere of folks who have capped their follower list at 500…choosing to have real relationships with a smaller number of people rather than to participate in the “who can get the most followers” game.


The good news is that I’m approaching 2000 followers in fb and twitter. The bad news is that I have to figure out a way to actually engage with the people that thought me interesting enough to follow. I have already seen that it  is hard work, and it is something I don’t do easily. But, I see the value, and I’m committed to try to figure this all out.

In the next little while I’m going to continue my explorations and experiments, and I’m going to try to report back here on a regular basis. I’m convinced that social media is not going away, and that it can be a tremendous tool in the church musician’s/worship leader’s tool box.

So here’s a heads-up. I think it is good news. My next EBook is going to be about Social Media in Ministry. I’ve even started a new blog category here so that, if you are interested, you can find the posts that apply, because I intend to write about it more often. If you’re not interested, don’t worry…I’ll still be writing about other aspects of ministry. In fact, tomorrow, I’m going to outline a little plan that I’ve come up with for this blog. I hope you’ll find it to be even more helpful for your ministry.

In the meantime, I would love it if you would share your experiences with social media. Got a story of how social media helped or burnt your ministry? Please leave a comment. I’d love to be able to include your story in my EBook.

You can follow me on twitter here
Join me on facebook here

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