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UU Social Media Year in Review for 2013

Like - Social Media

Here are a some thoughts in response to Rev. Daniel Harper’s The year in review: UU social media in 2013. I’ll share more thoughts when I have time. Thanks for kicking off the review, Dan! ~ Peter

BLOGGING
We’ve discussed the issue of UU clergy vs. lay person blogging in the UU Growth Lab and most agreed that the ease of sharing ideas and engaging in discussion in topical UU groups has taken some of the energy away from public blogging. While it is great to have these forums, there was some worry expressed in having these conversations moved behind closed doors.

FACEBOOK OUTREACH & DESIGN
There’s been amazing UU outreach done over the last year via social media, especially on Facebook using combinations of striking visual images and quotes. The biggest contributors have been the page (featured in UU world this Fall) & , and Thomas Earthman’s I AM UU page.

TWITTER
There continues to be growth in the number of UUs and UU congregations on Twitter. The UUA’s twitter account now lists:

128 UU Ministers
50 UU Religious Educators
279 UU Congregations

I don’t have stats on the counts from previous years, though I’ve logged these numbers for future comparison.

Hashtags: Though they are now more mainstream, I don’t see many Unitarian Universalists using them well.  Some do, but not overall.  There’s huge potential to bring our congregations, clergy and other UUs on Twitter into larger conversations using hashtags.  Hard to say if it is lack of technical understanding, or simply lack of intention to reach out.

Gini’s Twitter Lesson: At the UUA’s 2013 General Assembly then moderator Gini Courter gave the full plenary a brief Twitter lesson.  It was great to see this attention brought to social media at GA.

VIDEO
The UU video site I curate, http://www.unitarianuniversalism.tv now has over 2450 UU videos. Alas, many are poorly filmed, and are designed for viewing by existing members chained to their pews. Unless someone is already a member or friend of the congregation, you have maybe 3 to 5 seconds to grab their attention. Many of the sermon videos posted online take 3 to 5 minutes, an eternity for a web video.

Also, many congregations are not titling their videos or tagging with keywords which reduces their value. Titles, descriptions and keyword tags will greatly increase the reach of the videos UUs are presently producing.

I’ve had many inquiries from congregations wanting to take their video to the next level (or to start filming) in 2014, which is encouraging. I still advocate for starting with an awesome podcast and periodic video messages designed for outreach (a message from your minister speaking directly to viewer online), and then getting into video of sermons.

PINTEREST
There are approximately 20 active UU congregations and UUA accounts on Pinterest. A search for “Unitarian Universalist” results in ~35 related boards. Numbers are approximate as some appear to not have been used since creating some time ago.

GOOGLE +
I’m getting circled more often by UU’s but I don’t know if people are really using Google+ more or are just being forced to create accounts to use Google services.  As for congregations, a search for Unitarian results in ~90 UU congregations (with profile photos) on Google+.  Searches for Unitarian Universalist yields fewer number, and Universalist fewer still so  “Unitarian” seems best for tracking the trend at this point.

What are your observations on 2013?
And your hopes and dreams for UU Social Media in 2014?

Share your comments on Dan’s post at
The year in review: UU social media in 2013.

New book on humanism, UU theology, and the growth (or not) of the UUA

I just ordered a new book on humanism, our UU theology, and the history of our association, REGAINING BALANCE: THE EVOLUTION OF THE UUA by Michael Werner, published by Religious Humanism Press.

I’m excited for this read as this relates directly to conversations we’ve been having in the UU Growth Lab over the last two years, especially last month.    I haven’t read it yet, so I can’t recommend it yet.  But stay tuned! I’ll let you know what I think.

If this subject is of interest to you, you may order it here.

Mike Werner
Mike Werner

‘Find out the history of the UUA that no one has told you.  Find out why the UUA is declining.   Find out why there is a rightward theological turn. Find out what can reverse the downward trend.”

“The author details the cultural, philosophical and political history of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) especially in regards to Humanism  and critical thinking.  The evolution of the UUA from a focus on reason in religion to one of radical tolerance is described along with the loss on membership.  Culturally important factors such as postmodernism, process theology, second wave feminism, value theory, new age, theological education, the “religious redefinition” game, population dynamics, and the age of narcissism in religion are brought together to show how multiple interacting forces have led to the UUA to ideological extremes of indiscriminate pluralism.  The secular revolution is then described and possible solutions for the UUA going forward presented.’

“In this book Mike Werner analyzes what is wrong with the UUA and suggests how we can correct our problems and become once again a vital and growing religious movement.  It should be read by every UU who cares about the future of our Association.”  — William R. Murry, Former President and Dean, Meadville Lombard Theological School

The History of Humanism and the Unitarian Universalist Association

Below you may find videos of a lecture by Werner.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Michael Werner is an ardent Humanist and Unitarian Universalist having been past President of the American Humanist Association, Vice President of the Fellowship of Religious Humanists, President of the Humanist Foundation, President of the Unitarian Church of Charlotte, a founder of SMART recovery,
and an adjunct faculty member of the Humanist Institute. He supports a balanced Humanism of heart and mind, reason and compassion and a balanced Unitarian Universalism that helps us discover how to be more fully human.

Millennial UU Innovators Discussion Google Hangout

The following is the archived video of the live Millennial UU Innovators Discussion Google Hangout convened by Carey McDonald on June 5, 2013.  Total running time 1 hour.

Now you may be asking, how do these things get scheduled and how do I get involved?   Join the UU Growth Lab on Facebook!  Many great conversations happening and connections  being formed there…  Not on Facebook?  Well, you really need to be if you want to be part of our 21st Century UU leadership. Its how we’re organizing….

Start Tweeting at #UUAGA in 3 Easy Steps

Reprinted from previous UU Planet post.

You have a smart phone, you’re on Facebook,  you might even have an iPad.  If you DO and you’re at General Assembly, it is time to try Twitter.  I know you can do it and I want to follow your tweets.  Here’s a quick guide.

  1. Find someone you know who is techie and probably tweets.
  2. Offer to buy them an ice coffee if they help you get set up on Twitter.
  3. Do what they say.

I’m serious! GA is the perfect time to get some social media and tech coaching from friends and colleagues.

We need to help each other to learn the communication tools of our time.  I’ve found that one-on-one is best for some people, especially those who are anxious about trying. That’s why I’m doing more private clergy social media training these days.  But I can’t do that for everyone. We need to help each other. If you are at GA and Tweet, try and teach one person how to do the same during the week.

Now that you are set up, make sure to do the following while your coach is standing by…

  1. Write your first tweet. If you’re at GA, include the hashtag #UUAGA.
  2. Next, have them show you how to search for a hashtag, that’s the keyword tags we use to create conversations. Search for #UUAGA by clicking here.
  3. Follow other UU’s tweeting using that tag.
  4. Follow me on Twitter @uuplanet. I’ll follow you back.

Let me know via Twitter if you’ve started Tweeting this GA.

Don’t forget to use the GA Hash Tag!  When you tweet during GA, if you want all of us to follow it, include the tag #UUAGA.

Use Hahtag #UUAGA at GA

Church Growth Conference – Taunton, MA, October 26-27, 2012

First Parish, Taunton, MA - Exterior

Next month our Unitarian Universalist congregation in Taunton, MA is hosting a growth conference which I hope you will consider sending a team to.

It is Friday, October 26 – Saturday, October 27, 2012.

See Full Details and Online Registration.

Paul Nickerson

Presenting will be my colleague, Paul Nickerson, a senior associate with Griffith Coaching, the leading new church Start and Turnaround Company in the country.  Paul has more than 30 years of experience as a local pastor, judicatory leader and church consultant.

I met Paul in May of 2011 at a New Church Start Boot Camp  he was leading with Jim Griffith, author of Ten Most Common Mistakes Made by New Church Starts.  That training was the best I’ve attended in years!  Now I’m excited to hear Paul’s take on growth, membership and turning congregations around.

Is this a Unitarian Universalist event?

This event is being organized by our Unitarian Universalist congregation in Taunton, MA, will have mostly UU participants, and is being coordinated by the very Unitarian Universalist minister, the Rev. Christana Wille-Mcknight.

Presenting will be Paul Nickerson, who is NOT Unitarian Universalist, which is exactly why I’m going to this event.

Paul has also been kind enough to invite me to speak briefly on congregational social media.  That’s right, can’t have a complete growth conference without a healthy (and fun) dose of social media!

Registration

Online registration is now open at http://growthconference.eventbrite.com.  Want to share news of this event with others?  There are sharing buttons at the end of this post. Below you may also find the original event announcement from the Ballou Channing District of the UUA.

I look forward to seeing you in Taunton!
Peter Bowden

Church Turnaround and Growth Conference in Taunton

The First Parish Church in Taunton is sponsoring a growth conference for churches who want to do something new to turn their church around on Friday, October 26 and Saturday October 27.

The conference is being lead by church development consultant, Paul Nickerson. It will introduce new ways of thinking about conducting and employing  new techniques for doing growth work differently. For more information contact Rev. Christana Willey McKnight, minister@firstparishtaunton.org. Register at http://growthconference.eventbrite.com/ Registration fee: $350 group/$125 individual. First Parish Church in Taunton, MA, is located on Church Green (on Route 44).

Videos: Thousands of Unitarian Universalists protest Arpaio’s Tent City jail

On Saturday, June 23, 2012 thousands of Unitarian Universalists and immigration partners protested outside of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Tent City jail.  The following are videos containing footage from this event, including UU World videos and media from vigil participants. For full coverage of this religious witness event and the 2012 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, visit the UU World’s GA blog.

UU World description: On Saturday, June 23, 2012, more than 2,000 Unitarian Universalists and their immigration justice partners protested outside Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s “Tent City” jail in conjunction with the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Justice General Assembly in Phoenix. Read UU World’s coverage of the vigil and a tour Sheriff Arpaio gave to UUA President Peter Morales, United Church of Christ President Geoffrey Black, and other religious leaders:
blogs.uuworld.org/ga/2012/06/24/thousands-wage-peaceful-protest-at-tent-city/
blogs.uuworld.org/ga/2012/06/24/religious-delegation-visits-tent-city/

This 4-minute film includes footage from two previously published UU World videos:

Our colleagues with Denver Film & Video recorded the speakers at the vigil — 14 minutes.

Religious Leaders Tour Tent City

UU World description: The Rev. Leslie Takahashi-Morris was part of a delegation of religious leaders who toured the ‘Tent City’ jails in Phoenix, Ariz., on Saturday June 23, 2012.

UU World description: The Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, describes the Maricopa County, Ariz., “Tent City” jail to the Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, executive minister of UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries. Black toured the jail with Unitarian Universalist Association President Peter Morales and other religious leaders on Saturday, June 23, 2012, before an interfaith vigil outside the jail organized as part of the UUA’s General Assembly. blogs.uuworld.org/ga/2012/06/24/religious-delegation-visits-tent-city/

Black, Jaramillo, and the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, UCC Ecumenical and Interfaith Officer, attended the UUA General Assembly as interfaith guests. Black took part in the Sunday worship service.

ucc.org/news/ucc-leaders-to-join-unitarian.html

Three days before the Tent City vigil, the Unitarian Universalists Association held a rally following the opening of their 2012 General Assembly conference.  Event was held on the block adjacent to the Phoenix Convention Center. Read the UU World blog post about this event.

Additional Vigil Videos