We’re well acquainted with Facebook, LinkedIn and maybe even Twitter. But how many of us have spent time with Google+? I know what you’re thinking: Why get involved with another social media outlet? As we talk about interdependence, it follows that connectivity has to join the discussion, and Google+ provides more options for connecting and sharing.
In many ways, it’s like Facebook or Twitter: You can share status updates, events and photos with your friends and followers, which you can conveniently group into circles; you can +1 (or “like”) and share your favorite posts; you can create and join a wide variety of small groups or communities; you can even utilize hashtags for post grouping.
But what sets Google+ apart is its video capabilities. It’s called Hangout. Think of it as Skype and then some. Hangout allows you to participate in a free video conference with up to 10 people, complete with file- and screen-sharing. You can also broadcast your hangout live for the world to watch either on Google+ or YouTube. Best of all, your live broadcasts are automatically recorded so you can add them to your YouTube channel or embed them on your website. Google+ works on mobile devices so it’s easy to set up and connect from anywhere. Another added bonus? Having a Google+ profile increases your Google search ranking, which is helpful when new residents are looking for a spiritual community.
So what can churches do with Google+? Here are a few ideas:
- Share talk highlights and inspirational thoughts throughout the week.
- Broadcast your service live (and free) on Sundays.
- Have an online video group to complement your church-wide book groups.
- The minister can lead a live, weekly video chat as a follow-up to the Sunday talk.
- Schedule a live session with a prayer chaplain.
- Lead a live, guided meditation.
- Connect live with other ministries around the world.
It’s true that nothing beats face-to-face, but these days, social media can help connect those who aren’t physically nearby and for whom this is their only venue. I invite you to experiment with Google+ and expand your reach. A good message is worth telling in many ways.