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There I am standing in the lobby of our church.  The place is massive.  There are three services with at least a thousand people at each one.  I have been jittery all during the service.  My mind was racing.  I had heard what the pastor had said for only about the first 10 minutes and then realized the possibilities of what could be.  I was nervous..  visibly excited.  My wife was visibly frustrated with me.  I was waiting for our pastor to come out.  We were late getting to her sister’s house and did need to go-  but I HAD to talk.  I had to see if there was any interest in my idea….

I had no way of being able to tell my wife about what Web 2.0 was up to this point.  She is technical to a point. She works in development.  She has a passion for Facebook and reading news sites.  She emails and chats-  pretty normal stuff.  I tired to explain to her what Twitter was and how Facebook was important on a different level and what a blog could do if you knew how to use it.  I was not able to help tie it all together for her.  I was not even sure I could explain it to myself, but I did know it was important to business technology moving forward.  Sitting at my church was the first time I understood the impact that Web 2.0 could have outside of my world.

Engage...

Our church has always been a little progressive.  There is a good use of music and video media and web technology to help with the lessons and provide some interaction.  The church did not have an official Facebook page, Twitter feed, blog or other such interactive web tools for their community.

The church was going to do a GetFITT series.  Good stuff.  The pastor told everyone that for the next 12 weeks, the church was doing a series on getting fit in spirit, finances and physical health.  He mentioned that the church would be using video to show the struggles of a few of the staff as they worked out and dieted.  Suddenly it clicked.  If the church could use social media to blog about their experiences and others could make comments and follow one another as they struggled and fought to get fit-  there may be a good chance of more success stories.

The pastor came out of the doors and I shook his hand.  I told him about Twitter and Facebook.  I quickly tried to get my point out-  I was finding it hard.  He just smiled and said-  “You’re the guy to help.  Let’s do it.”  I met with their team and was able to express how important the idea of social networking online could be for their program.  I tried to explain my thoughts in relation to a marketing or brand campaign and realized that my vision was not about branding.

It was then that I realized that Web 2.0 could be many things.  The marketing system I had known it to be was just a small part.  I now understood that it is entirely about the concept of what you want your community to do online rather than shouting out a unified message across multiple platforms.  Web 2.0 was also about community. Interaction.  Discussion. Sharing. I learned about the “social” part of social networking.  I wanted the church to engage their people and allow their people to engage one another.

Econsultancy.com discusses the topic of engagement.  “By becoming closer to your people (your market) you can engender trust and support, leading to – hopefully – brand evangelism….  forget about thinking of the web as a one-way direct response channel, when it is so much more than that. It may be the biggest shopping mall in the world, but it is also the biggest watercooler / playground / bar / debating forum.

On a side note- the church has over 400 Facebook fans and over 200 Twitter followers now.  The accounts have been online a week.  More to come on tying all of it together….