Explore our recommendations regarding the general
world of social media, especially if getting into it for the first time. Or return to the Recommendations page for more. Explore the Findings tab for more information about the rest of our work.
The New Media Project is a research project helping religious leaders become theologically savvy about technology. To request permission to repost this content, please contact email@example.com.
- It is
helpful to learn online analytics.
There are a number of tools including Google Analytics, Facebook
Insights, etc. But this information is just a baseline. It’s not the end
result of your evaluation of an online application or tool. Or at least we don’t think it should be.
- Instead you should also evaluate social media initiatives by the quality of the relationships
that they encourage, or establish, or nurture. Ask qualitative questions
instead of quantitative ones, like “Did you learn anything about the people in
this Facebook Bible study group that you didn’t already know? Did it contribute positively or negatively to
the body of Christ? Did you meet a new
person, or deepen a connection?”
- Find ways to evaluate transformation rather than an increase in numbers. If your social media use is in line with the
purposes of your ministry, then use those tools to evaluate the purpose and the
social media tools you employed.
theological questions in front of you as you evaluate. Consider using the six C’s of Verity Jones’ theological essay: Does your
use of social media serve to Collect
people, Connect people, Convert people, or Conspire them? Does it Cultivate their formation as people of
faith, and does it Change the social
structures around you for the better?
how much time you spend online and the quality of that time.
Does it match your mission and purpose? If you set a goal of building an online group
of people who pray for each other, then you’ll spend more time online trying to
reach that goal than if you set a goal of empowering others in the church to
- How you measure and what you measure depends on the kind of ministry model you have. For example, if you are a service-oriented church, you
might look for connections between social media use and how people found out about
the services you provide. You might not
be so interested in whether they came to worship or not. Stay mindful of the
ecclesiological commitments and assumptions of your church tradition. Ask “How does our understanding of how the
body of believers is structured relate to how our church body uses new
media?” Need help? Explore this theological essay on models of church.
measuring “success” differently. Don’t base it on numbers, but on who was
moved by an online interaction, or who became involved and how did they participate?
We at the New Media Project wonder if social media analytics help us measure
what we actually care about.
- Show your
human side to achieve social media success, suggests one
of our guest bloggers. Ask how much
of yourself is in this initiative.
- Finally, don’t think of the way the church
behaves digitally in the world today—morally, spiritually, or ethically—as
if it is different than any other mode in which the church is manifest. Evaluate
for consistency in witness and deed.