“Today, for the first time in history, we can accurately map and measure person-to-person interaction. Our online social networks connect millions of people and support communication between these people. We can measure who is connected to whom, who talks to whom and who share ideas with whom.”–Jeff Hurt
Traditional outreaches involve lots of front-end promotion, a large in person gathering, an emotional appeal, minimal follow-up, and metrics around an intellectual response (a decision of some sort).
Social media provides a new opportunity to measure the sentiment of the audience before, during, and after the event, as well as track the action behavior that resulted from participating in the event.
Many ministry leaders intuitively sensed that these events involved a lot of effort and often lead to minimal long-term results, but now social media reveals exactly whether a decision resulted in any life-change.
Drawing a crowd and mobilizing people towards significant life change are not as interconnected as once thought. The data coming out of social networks such as Facebook reveal that most people are connecting with a few close friends even though they may have a large network, and are influenced more by the choices of these friends than the words of a speaker.
“Successful organizations of the future will move toward an understanding of how groups of friends talk about their brand, products and services.”–Jeff Hurt
Successful outreaches in the future (or present) will focus their resources on influencing and mobilizing small groups of friends with content that they are already interested in and are talking about, instead of using resources to push people towards content that is unfamiliar. By successful I mean long-term life change, not a high energy, large group, event.
Any ministry would do well to use social media to evaluate whether there is evidence of the life-change and mission that is being talked about. If people are participating in activities but posting pictures of themselves living a worldly life-style then there might be a gap worth addressing.