It’s not just companies experimenting with Web 2.0
Social networking is catching on in the business world like wildfire. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace are being used to tap into the benefits of customer interaction and creativity that are available via these networks. My friend Anita over at Small Business Trends actively promotes social networking, especially Twitter, even for small businesses.
An interesting article I ran across from Sojo, Inc states that "Thirty-Two Percent of Influential Churches in the U.S. are on Facebook".
You would think that was good, right? However, the article goes on to ask, "Why have churches been slower to embrace these cost-effective marketing initiatives?" Their answer? Churches are used to top-down types of decisions, and social networking in general "can be unpredictable". In other words, it might be a threat to a more authoritarian structure.
While that may be a reasonable assumption, I don’t think that is the only reason. Religious organizations, except megachurches, usually are pretty cash-strapped, and they may have difficulty finding the time or money to pursue such an adventure. The people involved are older and less likely to be "into" or understand the benefits of social networking.
All of these could be seen as threats. What if the new site doesn’t take off? What if no one reads it? What if no one replies?
It is likely that in the Church of God circles, we will begin to see more and more social networking. In fact, I ran into 2 more blogs just this week! Also, UCG is hanging out on Facebook. I am not completely surprised, however, that UCG would do it first. In one sense, it has less of a top-down structure (because of the typical "one man" policies of some of the COGs).
I agree with Sojo’s conclusion, though:
"Bottom line, social networking sites are giving churches more presence and a better way to interact directly with their members within their own communities, while reaching a global audience."