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Have you thought about blogging?

I am a strong advocate for mission and ministry in the digital world. And I’m generally ranked in the top half dozen or so most-visited blogs in NZ – no that’s not the top spiritual/religious sites; that’s of ALL sites.

Just putting a static website online, Web-1.0-like, with no possibility for engagement or interaction is so last millennium. Then there are even still Christian communities with no web presence. There are also Christian communities with a Web-1.0-like web presence that not only one cannot engage with, but you can’t find basic information. Recently I saw a parish advertising its services: address, nice image, but… not the slightest indication about what time services happened!!! Occasionally, if there’s facility to email a website, I’ll drop them an email asking a question. Pretty close to never do I receive a reply.

And then – how mobile friendly is your site? About half of the visits to this website are from mobile phones and tablets. That, more or less, seems to be about par for the course.

Stats point to people, on average, spending about about 5-6 hours on the digital media a day – about half of that on a mobile. Add in about 4 hours of TV a day and you are getting a picture of today’s world. Are you participating in this? Is your community?

Some mediums are more popular than others. We don’t know what tomorrow’s digital world will look like.

Blogging used to be a central arm of the internet. I think that it still has its place, but there are so many other growing areas: Instagram, Snapchat, you name areas that are growing… Certainly, I think images are far more significant than they were some years back (I put up an image a day ago – it has had two-hundred-thousand views). Twitter still has value – though I don’t think it is as powerful as when I started on it. I need to explore videos more.

It’s the facebook page that I want to spend a bit more time reflecting on in this post. I have previously suggested that parishes/church communities abandon your website and use a facebook page instead. [With a 301 redirect from your old site]. I stand by that suggestion.

The primary advantage of owning your own site (so not a ***.wordpress.com, or ***.blogger.com, or even facebook.com/***, or whatever) is that you have essentially absolute control over the future of that content on your-owned site (like this one). If tomorrow facebook decides to change the look of facebook pages – or just abandon them completely – that’s completely their right and I can ultimately not do anything about it (I don’t think I will). So there would go my efforts I put into my liturgy facebook page.

It used to be good digital practice to own a central site and then to use other (social media) sites to point to this central (your-owned) site. I’m no longer convinced that is best practice now.

I might easily now have, say, 20,000 people view my pointing to a post on facebook.com/liturgy, but only a thousand go through and look at the actual post. YOU have to decide whether putting the essence of your message straight onto a facebook page alone may actually be the better way forward – for you – and your readers/community.

One advantage of your own site was that it is searchable. Facebook pages are searchable now.

One advantage of your own site is that you can put links within it in a better way. You can moderate comments easier (remember that you, as the owner of the facebook page – or any page, are legally responsible for the comments on the facebook page you own!)

What do you think?

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