Bug 09 Shaun King – 10 Thoughts about Building Community Online
Great presentation by Shaun King. Here are my notes. He launched Courageous Church in the Atlanta area. He primarily used Facebook as a tool to build relationships and launch the church. They had around 600 their opening day. They have spend about $8000 on Facebook ads resulting in 15 million impressions.
All of the rules of building a community off-line still apply! (Be consistent, be transparent, be honest, be a good listener, be responsive, be outgoing, etc.)
- He did an official FB blog on the Facebook Neighborhood. They launched at 600. 400 of those connected through FB. About 50% of their first time visitors come through FB.
- You probably already know more than you think about building a community online. Use the same strategies you use in real life. Ex.- If someone said something to you at church and then you just walk on by, its rude. Same online.
- When he would post about the church launch, he had already commented on people’s status updates and sent them b-day notes, etc.
Be the church. (Pray for people, offer biblical advice, point them to resources, connect them to other people, etc.)
- You get to be the church. Opera has 1.4 million followers but she is not the church online.
- You can have a real spiritual presence online.
- They use LiveStream (Mogulus) to host prayer meetings. People from all over the world will join in it.
Services are not Expensive! (Facebook, Twitter, Google Apps, YouTube, LiveStream are free, Blogs are Cheap. Websites are Affordable.)
Don’t get caught up in expensive gadgets. (Shaun has a Gateway laptop he bought @ Wal-Mart for $500. A flip camera for $100 and an old-school Blackberry.)
Be Yourself. ( If your goal is for your online community to become a LIVE community people will discover the real you.)
- If the goal is to build off-line relationships, you don’t want people to be surprised at who you are. Don’t give out a fake online identity. No one can be you like you. Don’t be someone else. You want people to say, “in person he is just like he is online.”
Keep crassness to a minimum. Keep both feet on the ground, but vulgarity, etc. hurts more than it helps. (Crassness abounds and you can’t out-crass the world. Be funny, be real, but crassness confuses people).
- In an attempt to be cool and relevant, it will turn off way more people than you every know. You are supposed to be different. Church leaders are in the integrity business. People can get vulgarity and insults from everywhere else. We are in the business of honoring God.
People tend to over-commit and underperform online.
- (If 100 People RSVP to your FB invitation, 200 people could show up, but it’ll be more like 40.)
- RSVP now means I’m not going to say no because we are friends. He couldn’t figure this out. He asked people said, I wanted to show you that I love you and support you.
- Build in a margin for people exaggerating what they are going to do.
Pick a few things and do them well instead of 20 and suck at all of them. (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blog, Church/Business Website)
- Do anything beyond that and you’ll have trouble keeping up.
Don’t oversell events or church services that may suck. People may actually show up. (Spend way more time on systems and quality than you do neat online stuff. In-person quality will make what you do online much, much easier).
- If they come and it’s a mess, you have a problem. They will tell their friends/networks.
- Make sure it doesn’t suck. Spend as much time offline preparing for the event.
The same relationship boundaries that apply in person apply online. Be careful. (What happens online is not fake, it’s real. What happens online is not private or secret, it’s public.)
- You need to have boundaries based on your ethics and morality.
- People will take as much as you give. Don’t cross over into dangerous territory online.
- When you present yourself as someone who cares, you are saying needy people here I am. People that have needs will find you. All the things you do offline to protect yourself and other, you have to find creative ways to do them online.
- Ex. – Don’t start relationships that you’d have to minimize or x out when your wife walks in the room.
- Give your wife all your usernames and passwords.
- Use porn blockers and X3Watch. Nothing will make you shape up quicker than someone getting an email with the websites you visit.
- The last thing you want is a tool that you use to bring people closer to God ending up corrupting your morality.