Following the Breadcrumbs of Online Community

by Paul on July 9, 2008

Yesterday, I found a wonderful, albeit lengthy, post on Social Media Marketers. There are many things in this article related to reaching the Online Generation. Here is the link. I think this article is a must-read.

This article refined some of my thinking since yesterday’s post. MG Siegler, a technology and digital writer, broke social media into four groups:

  • Social Voting sites like Digg.
  • Social Networks like Facebook and MySpace.
  • Social Communication Tools like Twitter and Pownce.
  • Social Conversation tools like Friendfeed.

I like his breakdown. I think it will help us identify the purposes as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the various social media tools we run across as we engage the Online Generation.

As tempting as it is, we can’t narrow our focus to one tool or another. I’ve noticed that online communities interact across multiple platforms. What starts as an article posted on Digg moves into conversations on MySpace, Facebook, and/or Twitter! If we focus on reaching communities (and I believe the smallest unit of evangelism should be the family or intimate community) then we have to engage them across multiple social media. We let them take the conversation and run in the way that is natural to them. The worst thing we can do is make people move their conversation out of their comfort zone and into ours. There are enough natural barriers to the Gospel, we don’t need to create another one! We must shoulder the burden of discomfort if that is what it takes to reach a generation with the Gospel.

Thoughts? What questions does this perspective raise? What problems does it raise?

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