Last night I moderated #chsocm [It’s Church socialmedia. #ChSocM (ch-sock-em)] on Twitter, which is a weekly chat about using social media. We had a great discussion around the topic of viral social media stories, pictures, videos, etc… I enjoyed the experience. I sought to guide the discussion towards how church leaders in social media can use viral content for engagement. To my amazement, the discussion sometimes lacked ideas on how to use viral social media content.
I asked, “What viral “churchy” or “non churchy” news/video/pictures have caught your social media attention recently?”
The responses were broad: Vine, recent general news stories, and other current events topics. One person said:
In general, the term “viral” means: an object or pattern that is able to induce some agents to replicate it, resulting in many copies being produced and spread around. (wikipedia)
There were a few people who understood what I was asking for:
Many included using Facebook and Twitter for viral content, but there were others who don’t use Mashable, Stumbleupon, Buzzfeed, Reddit, or NewsWhip. This told me that some church leaders are not utilizing viral content into ministry, preaching, or evangelism. Those videos or stories that are feel good, funny, shocking, or just plain strange can help spark social media interaction. Viral social media bits can be shown in worship, shared on Facebook, or used in a small group.
This realization of mine was educational and not judgmental. I realized that there is an opportunity for church leaders to use viral social media stories for more than just laughs. Viral social media content can be shared, analyzed, used as a discussion starter, or to lighten the mood. Non-tech people can still take part if the content is show on video or printed out.
Church leaders don’t have to make viral social media content but they can copy it (legally of course) or put their own spin on it. Videos like the Harlem Shake or a Jesus photobomb can make it easy for church leaders to share or create their versions. That is part of why something goes viral. When the content is copied, shared millions of times, and spawns imitators.
I think most of us know what makes something viral worthy. Some responses during the chat included:
Viral social media content is an easy way for church leaders to grab attention, engage an audience, or just spark an idea. So go ahead! Use that viral social media nugget for yourself and your ministry!