Articles tagged with: community

30 May 2012

#WoburnUnites Candlelight Vigil: Social Media and Community Healing

Posted in The Woburn Trilogy, Leadership, Social Media


My town was hurting.

The shooting of a Woburn police officer and the subsequent manhunt through the neighborhoods of West Woburn had left everyone shaken.

What you need to know is that just nine months prior, the day after Christmas, a Woburn police officer, Jack Maguire, was shot and killed under very similar circumstances - while intercepting suspects from a jewelry robbery. We were also just days away from the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The robbery and shooting had brought back the painful memories of Jack’s death to our collective consciousness. The memory of 9/11 loomed as images of that day were continuously replayed in the media. We were emotionally raw.

I was up early the next morning, wondering how, as a pastor and neighbor, to support the community in the wake of our shock and grief.

08 May 2012

Five Ways Church Members Can Participate in Digital Ministry

Posted in How To, Digital Ministry, Social Media, Church


Member participation is absolutely crucial for effective digital ministry, and yet there is very little guidance out there for people in our congregations. Most of the advice focuses on the role of professional ministry leaders.

Member engagement helps puts the "social" in social media by extending the community, amplifying the Gospel message, and helping move away from a one-person one-message model of broadcast media.

Here are five ways members can participate in and extend the digital ministry of their congregations:

21 February 2012

TweetUp! How to Bridge Digital and Face-to-Face Relationships

Posted in How To, The Woburn Trilogy, Social Media

TweetUpMany ministry leaders worry that social media will erode face-to-face relationships. Unfortuately, they use this as a reason to dismiss social media altogether.

However, if this is really the concern, wouldn't a more constructive approach be to engage in social media with the goal of building connections between digital and face-to-face? After all, people are going to be in social media anyway, with our without you. (Sorry to break it to you.)

Why not help people avoid this apparently worrisome pitfall by helping make connections between the digital and face-to-face, between our online and offline worlds.

TweetUps are a great way to do this.

20 February 2011

Can Social Media Build Social Capital?

Posted in Social Media

A Conversation with David Crowley of Social Capital, Inc.

david crowleyOne of the critical questions surrounding the use and value of social media like Facebook and Twitter is whether they strengthen or undermine “real” community.

The most common measure of community strength is known as “social capital,” a term popularized by Robert Putnam in his book Bowling Alone, which tracks the alarming decline of social capital among American communities.   (A trend, by the way, that began long before the rise of social media.)

The central premise of social capital is that social networks have value.  "Social capital refers to "the collective value of all 'social networks' [who people know] and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other [norms of reciprocity]." - from

This week I sat down with David Crowley, the founder of Social Capital, Inc, which is based in my hometown of Woburn.

David is an expert in the field of social capital.  He is also an avid social media user (Twitter, Social Capital blog, Cooking Chat blog).  I asked David whether or not social media is capable of building social capital.  As you can probably guess, he does.  Here’s what I learned: