Social media, technology, and the Gospel from Sean Cannell

Last night I got this tweet from Sean Cannell: @lindseytalerico — i mention you in this talk — and link to the interview we did 🙂

Clearly, I was interested, and having just chatted over the phone with Sean this week, I checked out what was up his sleeve. When I opened the link and saw the video was 48 minutes long, I just about had a small panic attack (characteristic of short attention span). I thought about tweeting Sean back and asking him at what time-frame in the video was I mentioned. But I knew that was a completely ridiculous request, and totally self-absorbed, so instead I began watching the video.

What really grabbed me was at the very beginning was when Sean said this was about understanding what technological advances mean for the Gospel. So I watched the whole thing.

And then I felt the need to capture some of his thoughts. So I started jotting them down here. And that’s what this post is — my sloppy, nonsensical and totally selective nuggets from his “talk.” (After throwing my thoughts into this post, I realized that all of Sean’s notes are actually in the description of the video. Check those out if your want the legit version.

PS: I’m mentioned around 18:21. And Sean, I feel like I totally want to rock your presentation (or is this a sermon?) if I’m ever asked to talk on the same subject… GREAT stuff. And if you’re ever in the business of redoing some of your old interviews, I’d take you up on that. And if asked the same social media tattoo question, I will totally say the “fail whale.”

God is into technology and strategy. God allowed for connection and communication. He sent Jesus to utilize the technology of his day.

Significance of social media

The printing press — now the Gospel is able to get out in a new way with the printing of the Bible.

Radio, TV.

People have been reached through different types of technology.

It’s so young, we don’t even know the ramifications of it yet.

Remember the day when your physical mailbox was spammed with discs from AOL? Then they became drink coasters.

Implications of social media

Connectivity, proximity and exposure is like no other time. Instant connectivity.

Example: crowd-sourcing. (ie- text sermons)

Real-time insight and feedback into the lives of your congregation.

Accelerated the exchange of information.

Ever-changing forms of how we communicate. The forms of how we communicate will be there forever.

Are actions on the web are permanent. This means that we have to move towards radical transparency.

“To ignore social media is … extremely foolish.” Ignoring means you’re choosing not to grow and reach more people.

Basic things

Social media is amoral. We have to be intentional about using it for good.

It’s a tool. Like how on TV there are good shows and bad shows, good actors and bad actors… the TV itself was just a way of getting it into your living room. Social media is just a tool. In ministry, the authentic presence of God is everything. If you don’t have that, then social media only allows you to get a message out that is unauthentic.

The main things need to stay the main things. Social media doesnt replace anything — like relationships. You still have to have real relationships, and of course, social media can help that. But it can’t replace it.

Responding to the implications

Just do it. Get into basic platforms – you should be blogging. Learning comes. Devote consistency.

Develop some personal competency. Really learn about how to use the platforms.

Outsource the rest. Get someone in your ministry that’s passionate, and have them take it over. CCO’s (Chief communication managers). Churches are beginning to put pastors over communications and social media. No matter what size your ministry is, appoint a CCO.

Leverage it for learning. Give wisdom and follow wisdom.

Leverage it for listening. Twitter #1: “Our most epic easter service is coming soon. Don’t miss Friday’s outreach.” Twitter #2: @Johnnpants222: That’s awesome man, we love what you’re doing. // It’s about listening and interaction. What if it was about listening and your church’s role is to talk back.

Care and be human. Why? Because it’s still about people.

When stuff comes out… deal with it, with transparency. Apologize when you need to. It’s about being ready… and being ready to realize that its about embracing culture. Be intentional about getting the positive feedback out there.

Q and A

Quality vs. quantity. Twitter interaction is at about 1-2%. — Check it.

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends. ” -CEO of Amazon // How true is that for the church? Word of mouth is still powerful.

You HAVE to take a serious and aggressive stance on the positive. Get the word out about the good things.

Whatever you do in life, there is opportunity and a wealth of resources available on the web.

Twitter has leveled the playing field… it makes anybody reachable.

Effort is under-rated. It’s about making an effort.

Check out more from Think International and Sean Cannell.

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