Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Twitter, the web and bad impressions.

Several UM conferences now use twitter. I know of three, West Virginia, Texas and South Carolina. These conferences are doing good work.

That doesn't mean that I think you have to twitter in order to be an effective conference. Twitter does not make disciples, nor do good web pages, or great UM reporter inserts. However, it does show that you're thinking about such things. It shows you are looking for ways to communicate.

Look at the web pages for those three UM conference: South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia. They all have current events, relevant links and great information. They present the conference the denomination and the church well. Now, go look at some other United Methodist conferences. Pick three. There are some really bad ones out there. I met one of the people I follow on twitter because he was noticing how bad some of them are.

I know our conference budgets are limited. Budgets are being scrutinized everywhere. Many conferences are probably using volunteer help and hosting for their pages. Fine, have a simple web page with phone numbers, links and a calendar. But do whatever you're doing well.

If I go to your web page and get "upcoming advent celebrations!" what should I think? If you link me to another web page that doesn't have anything to do with the link I just clicked, how long do you think I'll stay on your site? If I email your pastors with a question or concern, how long will it take to hear back from them? I recently emailed a pastor with a comment: no response for six days and counting.

So what? I should do something. I'm complaining, but I can help. You can too. You're reading a blog, so you've got more experience than others in the church. Maybe you can help proofread the website for you church. Maybe you can just make sure to check the conference website once a week and encourage the guy who works on it. We have good news to share, peace to proclaim. Christ is Lord! Let us share the news in a way that is worthy of the King of Kings.

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