Social Media for Ministries
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Do You Use Location Based Applications?

Foursquare, Gowalla, MyTown, Loopt?

At least in Campus Crusade Twitter has barely gained traction among middle and late adopters. Signing up for something new that heavily depends on owning an iPhone or Droid is very rare.

However I see TONS of potential to use location based applications in ministry. Especially because places are one of the first things that connects people joining a ministry–you move to a new CITY, you then look for a church, you start COLLEGE, you look for a ministry.

There are approximately 250 regular readers of this blog and I’m wondering how many of you and what location based application are you using if any?

If you are what are you using and why?

If you are not I’d love to hear why not.

I’m using Foursquare and Gowalla because I have different sets of friends who use both services. I enjoy knowing the places they go throughout the week as it helps to get a better context of who they are.

To see the potential of what I’m talking about here’s a short video about Loopt’s new features.

Click here to watch the video if you cannot see it.


  1. When people ask me that question I always respond with…why not both.

    I think both gowalla and foursquare are great and have a huge place in the social media world, especially in the coming years. I myself want to be on both services so that as it continues to gain traction and momentum I will be there and have some sort of community/presence.

    • very much the same reasons as me kyle for being on both.

      at sxswi this year it was VERY cool when GoWalla would design custom logos to go along w various events–like the Ev Williams Keynote.

      it made me feel part of the community at sxswi–i hope that it some way as the apps mature that we can bring that into the church.

      CCC has a bi-annual conference w around 5-6,000 attendees–where people are going is HUGE there.

  2. I personally don’t have a cell phone yet, so location based services are a bit out in the future for me yet. For me I have been struggling with social media network priorities, each has potential but finding the most potential for my personal situation is proving much more challenging. Its one thing to “update” your status, its quite another to turn those status updates into relationships. Unfortunately the more popular each network becomes, and the more networks comes out, means more noise to have to deal with.

    • hey daniel i’m seeing that same sentiment in lots of places.

      after responding to kyle i can see our staff jumping on for various events, and then not using the service until another large event occurs.

      that’s been my experience using GoWalla–i signed up bc tons of people at sxswi were using it–but have not used it as much bc most of my friends locally use foursquare and to be honest there aren’t that many places i go that i want to broadcast on two channels.

  3. Hi Brian. I’ve been trying to figure out how we might use this in campus ministry and am excited to hear thoughts from others. Still seems that, at least on most of our NW campuses, smart phones aren’t mainstream. That could change in the next year or so (new, cheaper AT&T data plan revealed today could help), but even as it changes it will take a while for geo-location to become ubiquitous – which is when this could really go from fun to useful. In the meantime, I want to learn it and begin to figure out best (and worst!) practices so that I can help others understand how this could be useful, or not, for ministry.

    I started using foursquare a few months ago and have stuck with that (dabbled with Gowalla, but focusing on 4sq for now). It does seem like so many people update their fb or twitter status when they are some place new, exciting, or noteworthy. The geo-social apps make it easier to do that. Right now, I’m just using it to give insight into my life, build trust…and have a little fun with the badges/mayorships. 🙂 I’ve actually found it to be a helpful log of activity at times, too. “What day was I there?”, etc.

    • that’s interesting darren about remembering where you have been.

      when i decide to check in and broadcast my location my first thought is “does this in some way help people who do not know me that well get to know me better?”–if the answer is yes then i push send.

      if it’s starbucks for the fourth time in the week, then no. if it’s a coffee shop in a new neighborhood or city then yes–most of the time i receive a ping either on twitter or fb asking why i’m there or saying they have been there as well.

      for starting and nurturing new relationships i see location apps as a helpful tool provided those people are using them as well.

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