If you’re thinking about how your church or community group could make use of the new social media applications, such as Facebook, Twitter, Doodle, MailChimp, etc, to add to your communications, then you need to come along to the Greenbelt Social Media Surgery.
Here you can have a FREE 30 minute 1-2-1 session with an experienced social media user (a surgeon) who can help you go through what’s available, how to use it and where to begin.
The timetable for the social media surgery has now been finalised. There will be seven surgeries in total over the whole weekend, beginning on Friday and ending on Monday afternoon. The times for them are as follows:
It is advisable for people to book a 30 minute session with a surgeon, in order to ensure you will be seen. This can be done outside the Press Room at the Racecourse Grandstand (which is the venue for the social media surgery).
Something very new and informative will be appearing at Greenbelt 2011 for the first time. With growing interest in and use of social media as part of our everyday lives and communications, we shall be offering festival goers a Social Media Surgery, where experienced users of social media will act as “surgeons” providing one to one consultations with individuals keen to learn how to start using it.
Behind the Greenbelt 2011 Social Media Surgery is Graham Richards, a volunteer surgeon at several Yorkshire-based surgeries. We asked Graham why he thought Greenbelt needed a social media surgery:
“I came to last year’s Greenbelt and there were several excellent discussions and talks about social media, but they were rather philosophical and theological. That’s fine for people already using social media, getting them to think through the why and wherefore, but to me it overlooked the many people with little or no first hand experience or knowledge of it who are not sure how to get started for their church or organisation.”
“I’d been volunteering at several surgeries in Yorkshire and thought what a great place this would be to give festival goers a chance to sit with experienced Christian social media users and get them to explain how a church might start to get involved and use this. Most of the applications are free to use, so there’s not much outlay, apart from the time to learn and set things up.”
The surgeries will take place twice daily over the weekend. People will be asked to sign up each day, as places are strictly limited. Each person will have 30 minutes with a surgeon to talk through what it is they want to be doing and to explore which social media applications would be most appropriate. At the end of their session, they should have sufficient knowledge to go away and begin to start developing their own strategy for use back at home.
All the surgeons helping at the surgery will be volunteers, many recruited through Twitter from the Christian community that meet on there.
“People have a very biased opinion of Twitter”, said Graham Richards, “because the media portrays it as being glib and silly, but in reality, it is very powerful, because it puts you in touch with real people living out real lives. If we use it properly, we can meet people where they are with all their needs and begin to minister to them online. I have a vision of local churches getting to grips with social media and then putting on their own social media surgeries for local people in their community. Just like they used Sunday School in the past to gossip the Gospel, we too could get alongside people by showing them how to get online and use it!”
There’s still a need for more Greenbelt-goers to come forward and volunteer to help as surgeons. If you are an experienced social media user and would like to assist, please contact Graham Richards via Twitter: @GrahamRichards