What Churches Should Learn From Social Media And The Egyptian Revolution

Egypt's pro-democracy leader Mohamed ElBaradei, front center, is greeted by supporters before Friday prayers in Cairo.

Savvy leaders have always understood the powerful influence of social media.  Here are some quotes from the last 24 hours with key applications for all leaders, specifically those in the local church.

Courtesy of http://news.egypt.com

  1. “Twitter was used by people on the ground to relay what was happening,” said Rasha Abdulla, head of the Mass Communication department at the American University in Cairo (AUC), to Ahram Online.
  2. Commentators have concluded that social media was the key mobilising factor in Tuesday’s mass protests.
  3. The whole process of mobility was virtual, internet is what has brought people together in this protest” said Amr Hamzawy, a political writer, research director and senior associate at the Carnegie Middle East Centre in Beirut, speaking to Ahram Online.

Courtesy of www.nydailynews.com

  1. Cairo residents flooded Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and other social media outlets with reports and evidence of bloody demonstrations – making the unrest in Egypt the latest to play out on a global digital stage.
  2. “I feel that as soon as the world can’t use the Net to watch, awful things will start happening #egypt,” Google developer advocate Tim Bray tweeted.
  3. “What’s needed now are concrete steps that advance the rights of the Egyptian people, a meaningful dialogue between the government and its citizens,” Obama said.
  4. The high-tech tools can put a compelling, tragic face on movements taking root in distant corners of the globe.

Courtesy of Nicholas Thompson, Social Media expert, on CNN  

  1. The use of hash tags #Egypt or #Jan25 is fueling the unrest. 
  2. This revolution started more on Facebook than Twitter because you can connect with your friends
  3. How much power does social networking give to the people and how much does it give to the State. ..The government actually owns the pipes…In Iran, it seemed like Facebook was going to bring the government down and it didn’t.  Why is that?  Partly because the government infiltrated these networks, figured out how they worked, and slowed down the revolution. 
  4. The revolution actually started on April 6th, 2008 with social protests in Egypt organized on Facebook…The community started to build at that time.
  5. Egypt has had over 5 million new Facebook users in the past month. 
  6. You trust communicating this way more than you trust people. 
  7. A movement like this disperses power and doesn’t require institutions.  What then do you do when you need an institution? 

Here’s the applications for Pastors and Church leaders:

  1. Social media can be a powerful tool for the continual positive communication and advancement of vision and life change.
  2. Ignoring social media makes you less effective as a church.
  3. All churches should have a Facebook page and Twitter account.  People in your church now connect on-line.
  4. All pastors should have a blog which they post to 3-4 times per week.  You can’t have breakfast or lunch with everyone in your church.  However, you have the ability to connect with people where they are, tell them what you are thinking and feeling, and solicit feedback. 
  5. Use video in your social networking.  We are a visual society and the use of imagery communicates a powerful message.  
  6. Effectively using social media allows you to control and bring clarity to your message.
  7. Social media creates Tribes.
  8. There is a gestation period to the Tribe.  It is a slow build.
  9. The dispersing of power to the Tribe doesn’t require full-time staff and allows you to create a volunteer revolution for positive change.
  10. People will always need the institution.  In this case, the local church.

Church leaders, don’t you dream of the day when someone at your church tweets the following – “Down at the homeless shelter.  Hundreds need help.  Be there at 2pm to serve.”  This then results in hundreds of your on-line users arriving to serve the poor, marginalized, and under-resourced.

The Egyptian revolution gives us a picture that this is now possible and could one day happen in your church.  Here’s a good test – have your entire staff promote a community serve project daily for one month solely on-line (web, twitter, Facebook), no platform plugs.  See how many show up.

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

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  1. What Churches Should Learn From Social Media And The Egyptian … | church tech news - 01/29/2011

    […] What Churches Should Learn From Social Media And The Egyptian … Social media can be a powerful tool for the continual positive communication and advancement of vision and life change. Ignoring social media makes you less effective as a church. All churches should have a Facebook page and Twitter … church social media – Google Blog Search […]

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