Douglass Blvd Christian Church

an open and affirming community of faith

n open and affirming community where faith is questioned and formed, as relationships are made and upheld. 

Social Media at Douglass Boulevard

For some time, our church, like many others, has had a presence in the virtual world of the Internet alongside its presence in the real world of Louisville, KY. We have a website whose current version is the best our church has ever seen. We have the blog you are reading right now, and we also have a page on Facebook, the social networking site, and a feed on Twitter, the microblogging site. As strange and unfamiliar as these two latter items-- "social media," in the fast-moving parlance of Internet-speak-- may seem, they in fact allow us Christians to pursue ministries we have already been pursuing for a long time. We have always been witnesses to our friends both near and far, in our work, family, and private lives, and we have always been connected with all Christians in the worldwide community of Disciples and believers. Pope Benedict XVI of the Roman Catholic Church has proclaimed social media's potential role in the future church. Their emphasis on connectivity and effacing boundaries are a natural fit with the ecumenical and unifying focus that has animated the Disciples of Christ tradition from its beginnings. Social media afford us a different way of living out Christian community-- one that doesn't replace our real-world community, but allows us to enhance it and extend it in novel ways.

Our church's ventures into social media, however, have up to now lacked a single, deliberate focus. This statement isn't meant as a criticism of the efforts that Derek, Ryan, Jennifer, and others have made in this area. Far from it-- their efforts have laid crucial foundations. They simply lack the time to give social media the kind of focus it requires. As anyone with a Facebook page or Twitter account knows, social media require daily attention and updating; they need not consume more than a few minutes of one's day, but they need at least that much.

So, as of last Thursday I am now our church's social media coordinator, which means that I am the central focal point for our church's presence on the two main social media sites, Facebook and Twitter. Derek and Ryan will continue to communicate with us via these tools, and they and Administrative Secretary Jennifer Vandiver will continue to have primary responsibility for maintaining the church website, blog, and other communications such as the newsletter. Sue Raymond has also volunteered to lend her talents to help develop our church website further. My role will be to ensure that our church's presence in the social-media world is constant, meaningful, and in keeping with the values and commitments that shape our real-world community of faith.

For now, I am adopting a very modest "editorial policy," for lack of a better word, when it comes to my new social-media role. I am keenly aware of the difference between speaking for oneself and representing the congregation, and so I deliberately plan to avoid using DBCC's Facebook page and Twitter feed to offer personal commentary. (Besides, I have my own Facebook page for that-- look me up!) In the coming weeks, I will be working with all who are interested on developing specific policies for our church's use of social media that will help us avoid some possible pitfalls these tools create. I am of course open to any suggestions you may have for our social media presence, in regards to both policies and content.

So: Feel free to shoot me an e-mail; post a comment to this blog post; or contact Derek, Ryan, or me over Facebook or Twitter. Above all, let the conversation begin!