- Paperback: 200 pages
- Publisher: Liturgical Press; 2 edition (September 16, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0814647073
- ISBN-13: 978-0814647073
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.3 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 54 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways 2nd Edition
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Assistant Professor of Liturgy, Catechesis and Evangelization
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Kyle Matthew Oliver, digital missioner in the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary
“In the first edition of The Social Media Gospel, author Meredith Gould offered the basics to take the fear away from tackling social media, especially in ministry settings. Rather than replacing face-to-face connections, we learn the best ways to use online communication and social media to enhance our ministry. In her second edition, Gould adds even more detailed guidance for our individual needs. Both editions are gems for those wishing to properly navigate the ever-changing waters of social media.”
Elizabeth Caywood, Living Lutheran
About the Author
Meredith Gould, PhD, is a sociologist, longtime spiritual seeker, online community manager, and digital communications professional. Her consulting experience spans all levels of church across denominations. Dr. Gould is nationally known as a passionate advocate of using digital tools for ministry and to encourage practical spirituality. Learn more at www.meredithgould.com.
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Chapter 1: Defining Social Media
In this first chapter she outlines and helps readers understand that social media is a tool to proclaim the gospel and you don’t need to be afraid of it. She helps readers become more comfortable in their social media journey by saying that it is a great tool to see how attitudes and opinions change, grow or weaken, it is the best place to know what the people around you are feeling and gives you a place to share hope of Christ.
Chapter 2: Thinking Theologically
This chapter starts off by making a very profound statement—that Jesus has no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest account besides yours, so you should make it count for Him. I think he gets a little too heavy for me in this chapter talking about sacraments. If someone reading this was really, really into theology and the sacraments I can see that this may be helpful. In my opinion this chapter started off with a bang and brought me to wordy and theological boredom pretty fast.
Chapter 3: Thinking Generationally
This chapter was very interesting to me, for starters generational differences are fascinating, but let’s be careful not to judge too quickly. I have an almost 92 year old grandmother from the “silent generation” that has taught me a thing or two about social media and her presence in social media and what she does for the Kingdom way outdoes me. On the other end saying that because I just make it into the “digital natives” does not mean that anyone should assume that someone my age just innately knows how to use social media or technology. If you stranded me on an island with my children and husband with no technology, I would jump for joy! I do think that is the point of this book, no matter where you are at or what feels natural or unnatural, we have to look and see that social media can and should be used to glorify Him.
Chapter 4: Learning styles
I thought that this chapter was excellent, I love that she points out the differences in learning styles and that social media helps us to share His gospel to all different learners! I would also like to add to the chapter that all of us are learners too, the preachers and the head in ministry. Find how you learn best and use her breakdown of social media learning styles and follow some of those to learn for you and your relationship with Christ.
Chapter 5: Personality Types
I would just like to point out here that if you look into the different personality types you will learn that some personality types take to technology better than others and some do not take to it as easily, but will catch on and enjoy it. As far as my personality type (INFJ) we notoriously hate technology and try to avoid it at all cost…..so maybe don’t judge an almost 30 year old for wanting to live alone on an island away from technology. I do however agree with her that as an introvert, it is helpful to gain knowledge about a person or situation with social media before I am out in a place of face to face meetings. I think this chapter helps you as an individual realize that how you feel about social media can come from your individual personality and she helps you find ways to utilize social media in a way that fits you.
Chapter 6: Virtual Community Is Real Community
There are a lot of people that say that relationship are not real or groups are not real because they are online in some form of fashion. What Gould says in this chapter is that they are real, especially for the people that are in that relationship or group/community.
Chapter 7 - Chapter 22: Choosing Social media
These chapters have been incredibly helpful for me, a social media beginner. She outlines why we should or should not pick blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or Snapchat. These chapters are helpful for people who do not have any idea what the social media site is for to the person that wants to start to use their account to proclaim the Gospel in a better and louder way. Inside each of these chapters she also outlines other similar social media sites to the chapter title to give you even more information as a consumer.
Chapter 23 – Chapter 30: Making Social Media Work
The last eight chapters are exactly what the title of this section says; she explains how to make social media work. She explains how to use Twitter chats, how to avoid jargon, how to write content on social media, how to manage conflict on social media and the best practices for digital ministry. While these final chapters were great, for me as a beginner they seemed to be heavy and not as meaningful to me. I did get something from each chapter that helped me, but the depth and wordage got to be too much for my beginner level.
Gould’s overarching theme of the book comes as a well known Bible verse, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” —Matthew 18: 20 This theme of being together in a new way creates a foundation for the exploration of social media and how it can be used in relationship with the Gospel.
Gould starts with a great definition of social media, “Social media are web-based tools for interaction that, in addition to conversation, allow users to share content such as photos, videos, and links to resources.” (Kindle Locations 225-226)
Each chapter is followed by “Thought Bytes” which are carefully crafted questions to cause the reader to delve more deeply into the topic. An example of Gould’s questions, “What are the practical consequences of moving forward without defining what we mean by social media?” (Kindle Location 284).
Re-imagining of St Theresa’s poem “God Has No Body” Gould re-contextualizes the poem online;
Christ has no online presence but yours,
No blog, no Facebook page but yours,
Yours are the tweets through which love touches this world,
Yours are the posts through which the Gospel is shared,
Yours are the updates through which hope is revealed.
Christ has no online presence but yours,
No blog, no Facebook page but yours.
A chapter on strategy outlines a strategy that answers the following questions;
Who do we most want to reach?
What do we want to happen as a result of using these tools?
What do we want people to know or learn about us?
How will we know we’ve succeeded?
A section called “Choosing Social Media” Gould describes the various current flavors of social media.
Gould stresses the importance of good content, and outlines various actors from content producers to curators of content who influence the production and flow of content.
In a section called “Making Social Media Work” Gould describes best practices for implementation of social media.
“We need to use social media because everyone else uses it” is not a strategy. Social media in and of itself is not a strategy. Social media is a tool that must be selected and used with purposeful forethought." (Kindle Locations 654-656)
Gould’s book is helpful for folks who have no idea why social media is important, for folks mapping out a strategy for social media, or for folks who are revisiting their current social media offering.
The Appendices of the book have invaluable checklists and framing documents for social media use.
To improve this book, I would love to see case studies, and the stories of the trails, mistakes and successes of social media implementers.