Social Media for Ministries
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Location Based Services & Ministry

Gowalla and Foursquare are fun! You should try them both for a week.

Foursquare Home PagePlaces powerfully unite and connect people–I believe online it has the same potential. At this point there simply are not enough users to warrant a wide spread call to integrate them into ministry as with Facebook and YouTube, but right now is a great time to try one or both of the services, kick the tires, and see what all the fuss is about.

Twitter adds great texture to my online presence; it provides glimpses, snippets, snapshots of my life that fill in the gaps between what I share on Facebook or here on my blog. Gowalla and Foursquare allow you to tweet out your location to both Twitter and Facebook, so you’re not “adding” another service as much expanding what you share within Facebook or Twitter. Here’s a couple ways location based applications can add texture to your online presence:

  • Sharing your local coffee shop/restaurant/hang-out spot–when someone tells me what their favorite coffee shop is it communicates so much about them–it was really fun to take a look at the various coffee shops friends were checking into this summer in Santa Monica.
  • Checking into well known places in someone else’s town usually results in engagement from locals–I’ve had fun checking into various places in other cities and seeing what the locals have to say–often times I receive a recommendation to try a place that is not heavily promoted but has excellent food/service/atmosphere.
  • Mayorships battles among friends increase community. Our staff team in Chico last Spring had an epic battle for the mayorship of Tin Roof Bakery. It was really fun to gain and lose the mayorship several times over the course of a couple months, and gave us all something to talk trash to each other.

Gowalla Home Page

My suggestion: Sign up for both, and try them for a week. I still haven’t landed on which one I like best; I use Foursquare when I want to become the mayor of a place I really like, and Gowalla to share places that I think others will find interesting or share on Facebook (it’s visually more appealing than Foursquare).

If you’d like to read a short blog post on a ministry application I’d recommend Should a church offer something fun for its Foursquare mayor? from the Media Salt blog. Great comments as well.

What about you? Are you using one or the other? Has either caught on in your social network?

2 Comments

  1. So for one of the last remaining people without a cell phone, what sort of options do I have in regards to using these services? I thought they were all based around the concept of having a smart phone on hand.

    • hey daniel right now there is an option to comment on other people’s check-ins, and photos shared via gowalla.

      at this point it’s limited but gowalla just released a new feature to customize your passport (equal to twitter profile)–it seems like they want more interaction to open up around the data.

      a non phone application i’m excited about is taking the data from 4sq & Gowalla and using it to generate a dynamic map of an area.

      i’m wondering if churches/ministries would benefit from displaying something like this in relation to the surrounding area around their ministry…

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