Is Unitarian Universalism Ready for Revolution?

Social Media Revolution

I don’t think we’re ready. I think our churches are convinced that social media is just a passing fad.

What are the implications for churches, religious practice, spiritual development, blogging…if this is revolution?

What do ministers need to learn? How can our congregations become content providers?

Will we change or will we become irrelevant?

By the way, I found this video because it was posted on the Starr King School for the Ministry Facebook page.

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11 thoughts on “Is Unitarian Universalism Ready for Revolution?

  1. I have to agree with you – I do not think UUism is ready for social media. Some congregations are out there on facebook and twitter, but I haven’t seen a good marketing push by congregations or UUism using social media, or effectively using social media to get our message out there.

  2. Boy, I”ve just decided I’m going to create a FB page and suggest that all my FB congregants mention something about our congregation and its activities and beliefs. Very interesting! Thanks, Sean.

  3. I also agree, Sean — I think that we may be excited about social media, but that’s not the same thing as being ready for them. UUs LOVE novelty, and I think that we often dive into new ideas without the culture or the infrastructure to be able to engage them in a healthy way. In particular, I think that social media need to be balanced with a healthy community understanding of boundaries. Until we’re more confident of the need to occasionally say “no,” I’m afraid that the faddish dimension is going to overwhelm the transformative dimension.

  4. from Chris Walton on my FB page:
    Chris Walton Catchy video — and, in its overall push to convince corporations and other institutions to take social media seriously, spot on. But I knew something was off about the film when I got to the Amazon stat. I knew that one was wrong, so I went searching for someone who had tried fact-checking the film.

    This blog post identifies several questionable or misleading “facts” in the film: http://connect.phocuswright.com/2009/08/socialnomics-should-not-be-voodoo-economics/

    They don’t negate the main point — that social media represents a major shift in the way people absorb information, make connections, or interact with brands — but it’s worth noting that the film makes exaggerated claims that significantly overstate the influence of social media.

  5. I just spent half an hour learning to embed this video into my PowerPoint presentation on Social Media. 🙂 I wouldn’t be doing that if I thought it was a fad… Thanks for the link!

    But what do you think the implications of this for Unitarian Universalism are?

  6. Are we suddenly fearing that there is or will be a shortage of geeks and nerds in UU-land?

    At the other end of the spectrum, I know UUs who are afraid of their computers. They are not likely candidates for social media.

    There is a fad-like aspect to the current rise in FB that may be difficult to sustain. As much as I love it, I also question its impact on the face-to-face contact upon which most of us depend.

    The deeper question about UUism is: “Where’s the beef?” If we have a quality product (or at least one that catches the interest and imagination of our target audience), then the packaging and advertising may be secondary. (Sort of like an indie hit that spreads by word of mouth.)

    I wonder what our current audience tells us about our product. What is the relationship between resistance to social media and resistance to the audience that social media might attract? (See comments on UU culture in Paul’s and Rosemary’s articles in the new UU World.)

    Chris, Thanks for the link. As an old HR (human resources) type, it was a LinkedIn figure that roused my suspicions.

  7. Hi Sean,
    I find it interesting that so many people have watched this YouTube video by Erik Qualman, forwarded links to it, and/or re-posted it on their websites and blogs given how few of the claims made in the video stand up to scrutiny.

    For example, Qualman says “By 2010 Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers.” There are about 60 million members Gen Y’ers in the US born between 1978 and 1994, vs. 78 million Baby Boomers born between 1946 to 1964 in the US. In the video, Qualman also says, “Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web.” On his blog, he cites as his source for this claim as the Huffington Post, which in turn cited a single report on Reuters that found a researcher looking at Internet search engine data found that during the period he examined, more people entered search queries about social media than porn. This research is pretty weak support for the claim that, “Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web.”

    On Qualman’s blog, he lists all the claims made in the video, and his sources. On that blog, you will also see that most of his claims have been debunked by his readers. It’s amazing to me how many hits the video and others like it have generated. Maybe people like factoids, or maybe words presented with high energy music ar more credible somehow.

    – Joe

  8. Hi Sean,

    I like your questions. I want to know how social media has affected our spiritual practices? our delivery & participation in on-line learning?

    There does seem to be more interest in a UU blogosphere. I was listening to the Interfaith Voices podcast last week about the Church of LDS (Mormons) “blogernacle”.

    Thanks for the questions!

    cheers,
    Naomi

  9. Ok, I had questions about a few of the facts cited, too. But overall, I think the message is pretty inarguable and you can bet I put it in front of the communications committee of my church.

    CC

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