The Facebook Apocalypse: Step Back from the Ledge

How I learned to stop worrying about the latest algorithm change by Facebook, and come to love the Newsfeed.

The Facebook Apocalypse: Step Back from the Ledge
Ever since Facebook unveiled a new mission statement last summer, “Bring the world closer together,” Facebook has had many of us so-called experts confused and nervous as things change behind the scenes.
The Facebook Apocalypse: Step Back from the Ledge
Ever since Facebook unveiled a new mission statement last summer, “Bring the world closer together,” Facebook has had many of us so-called experts confused and nervous as things change behind the scenes.

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The Opportunity

If you read between the lines a little, though, there’s more than a silver lining here. There’s an opportunity.

Last summer, when Zuckerberg was on stage promoting the new mission statement, an official Facebook blog post laid out tools for strategically using Facebook groups. Since that day in June, Facebook’s goal to build community focus has given groups have a special sort of priority. So what makes a group different from a page? A page is not a person. It usually uses the overly official and impersonal voice of a corporation.

Even for a church, the picture next to any post is usually a logo instead of a person. In a group, there is no brand disguising who you are talking with. Even the creator of a group must use their personal profile. It’s a small difference, but one that underlines the entire strategy. No longer will the voice of authority come from a logo.

We’re going back to talking to real people. That’s good for us.

A church is not a building. A church is not a brand. A church is a group of believers. And now Facebook is set up to respect us as such a group.

This announcement also directly encourages live video instead of prerecorded video. Zuckerberg also noted, “We’ve seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones.”

Going live, even with your phone is now significant. Production value is not as important. Scripting every detail is not as important. Editing and post is definitely not important. Only the conversation you start is important. It’s time to go live.

But the best news in the announcement is maybe the very first line: “One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.” Facebook has been a unique ministry field, because everyone is there. It gathered all the casual web users into one place so we could focus our energy.

After a few years of growing disappointment in the platform, though, Facebook is choosing not to take its audience for granted. Facebook doesn’t want to frustrate users until we all quit. They want to give users a better value for their time. And that value comes from us, the content makers and conversation starters.

The Sky Is Not Falling

The truth is there is a powerful opportunity being laid out here. As long as we are not too attached to our business-as-usual mindset, we might actually reach our communities better. It will involve us going out to get them rather than them coming passively to us. But we are disciples of Jesus. That’s what we do. Let’s save the word “apocalypse” for more serious conversations.




More About Adrian Gates
Adrian Gates is the Media Director for Crossroads Community Church in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. In his 16 years as a media professional, Adrian has served many different roles, including music producer, web master, videographer, consultant, social media “expert,” sound guy, lighting guy, stage hand, and roadie. His clients have included some of the largest tech companies in the world, New England churches looking to modernize, and dedicated weekend warriors. Adrian is a graduate of the New England Institute of Art and Communications.
Get in Touch: mediaservices@crossroadsconnects.com    More by Adrian Gates

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Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.


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