Over the next couple of weeks, in the runup to #CNMAC12, we’ve asked a number of speakers to respond to the following questions, and here we hear from Paul Webster. Paul is running social media surgeries in the ‘Interact’ strand, 11.05am and 12.10pm:
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Who are you, what do you do, and how do you come to be speaking at #CNMAC12? What’s your personal ‘story’?
I’m Paul Webster, or @watfordgap on Twitter, my preferred social network for finding out things and having conversations. I spend my time helping charities, communities and organisations in the voluntary sector to use technology, e-learning and social media. My aim is always to show them it isn’t something to be scared of, but a set of tools and resources that can help them campaign more effectively, tell their story more clearly, collaborate efficiently and join conversations to grow and reach further. The church also faces similar challenges as it grapples with new technology and an often confusing range of websites and platforms that are potentially available. Often all that can be needed is advice in building local contacts for a Church on Twitter over a cup of tea or reassurance about Facebook settings for a youth group. Social Media Surgeries and coaching sessions can provide all of this.
Can you give us a ‘sneak peak’ into the story of your session at #CNMAC12?
A couple of us will be running a social media surgery throughout the morning at CNMAC to offer basic advice to individuals and church groups about social media. So if you are confused about Twitter or you would like to see how your church could set up a blog or website please come along. The session will consist of short informal one to one chats – just drop in for a few minutes or for as long as it takes.
What is the best ‘good news story’ to come out of your journey as a disciple? What keeps you going when times are hard?
As a digidisciple it’s seeing how the tools and websites I use and can be very powerful to also help all of us to join in conversations about our beliefs and to tell stories of our faith to others. They demonstrate that the church can be modern vibrant and relevant to the lives of everyone. Personally, the connections and conversations possible through social networks such as Twitter and Facebook have encouraged me and media shared through YouTube and Pinterest have inspired me.
We’re working on the @bigbible project. How do you think the (stories in the) Bible can inform what we do online, in whatever sense?
The bible is a collection of stories and parables, @bigbible can recount these, but in the context of 21st Century Christianity. We all still face challenges and have doubts, bringing in a fresh and modern perspective through the channels we all use to consume other media and keep up to date with news and current affairs is very effective.
Outside of your own session, what are you most looking forward to at #CNMAC12?
I am constantly learning and always looking at new ways to discover ideas, so the sessions on social media tips will be very useful as will the Open Space session as spontaneous discussion & learning can be very rewarding. I’m also keen to hear an update on the research into church websites as simple actions in the way local churches present themselves online can make a massive difference to their effectiveness of their mission.
Find me on Twitter at @watfordgap or email firstname.lastname@example.org