Celebrating 10 Year Anniversary of the “You’re a Uni-What?” Video

This coming UUA General Assembly conference is the 10 year anniversary of the “You’re a Uni-What?!” video.  You heard me.  Ten years…

The Rev. Amy Freedman and I filmed the interviews at General Assembly 2007. Our segments were filmed in our living room in front of a projector screen.

That was BEFORE social media. BEFORE smartphones.  And Youtube was just a baby….

What amazes me most is that despite the video’s age and lower resolution, people are still learning from it.

When I am guest preaching and meet first time visitors, they often ask, “Have we met? You look familiar.” And almost every time it is because the night before they were checking out UU videos on Youtube! I’ve come to deeply appreciate the potential of video to work for us online 24/7.

What might your congregation do with video? There are so many possibilities!

You can find a list of ideas on my video making tips page. Thanks to smartphones, you don’t need to hire a professional. You just need to make a commitment to experimenting with sharing your message.


Need help to get started with smartphone video production?  I offer smartphone video & social media training.

happydot_copyright2002peterbowden

Event: UU Social Media and Membership Growth – May 16, Framingham, MA

UU Framingham MAFriends, if you want to rock your social media and grow your congregation come the Fall, join me on May 16th for a day-long training at our UU congregation in Framingham, MA.  We have a tiny window to infuse our teams with new ideas, intention and skills if they are going to be ready to implement come the new church year.   Now is the time — I know, we haven’t even been to the beach yet!  I say, come to the training and then THINK ABOUT IT on the beach. Oh yes, that’s the way…

It is time to register, we’re just two weeks out.  I know you like registering last minute but that tends to freak out the hospitality team of host congregations.  If you know you’re coming, register today. Okay?

Details and registration:

UU Social Media & Membership Growth  – May 16th in Framingham, MA

Peter BowdenI’ve said it before, but it is important to repeat…   Today we need to be intentionally integrating our social media, visitor greeting and other membership development efforts.  If we don’t,  we’re in trouble.

Thanks to technology the path to membership is moving increasingly online.   How many people visit your website before visiting?  Around 100%.  And now people are wanting to explore your social media and check you out digitally for a while to judge you before they visit. That’s right, they’re judging you based on what you’re online presence and identity.

Potential members are  increasingly making a decision about your congregation based on their digital experience, and then and only then, if that’s good, they’ll visit in person to confirm you are what you’ve said you are online.

Increasingly you need to be helping people pre-qualify themselves for membership online if you want them to visit and join in person.  I was just guest preaching on this and a newcomer (4th visit) reported keeping an eye on the congregation’s website for a YEAR, a whole year, before feeling like the match was good enough to try it in person.

And your existing members?  They are bombarded with information via multiple communication channels.  How do you get them to hear you and to not drift away?  We’ll discuss all of this in more in one very full, exciting and useful day…

Peter Bowden speaking at event

These trainings have gotten rave reviews and have been catalysts for congregational teams to take their social media to a whole new level, especially if your minister comes with you.  You can’t communicate well with the world if your minister isn’t communicating with your media ministry volunteers.  So, bring a team and get a 2015-2016 upgrade for your communications and membership growth strategy.

Details and registration:

UU Social Media & Membership Growth  – May 16th in Framingham, MA

What’s that you say?   Are these events being lives streamed?  No,  but I will be turning the content into text and video resources. Make sure you are subscribed to my Leading Congregations E-Newsletter to be updated as they become available.

In cooperation,
Peter

UU Social Media Year in Review for 2013

Like - Social Media

Here are a some thoughts in response to Rev. Daniel Harper’s The year in review: UU social media in 2013. I’ll share more thoughts when I have time. Thanks for kicking off the review, Dan! ~ Peter

BLOGGING
We’ve discussed the issue of UU clergy vs. lay person blogging in the UU Growth Lab and most agreed that the ease of sharing ideas and engaging in discussion in topical UU groups has taken some of the energy away from public blogging. While it is great to have these forums, there was some worry expressed in having these conversations moved behind closed doors.

FACEBOOK OUTREACH & DESIGN
There’s been amazing UU outreach done over the last year via social media, especially on Facebook using combinations of striking visual images and quotes. The biggest contributors have been the page (featured in UU world this Fall) & , and Thomas Earthman’s I AM UU page.

TWITTER
There continues to be growth in the number of UUs and UU congregations on Twitter. The UUA’s twitter account now lists:

128 UU Ministers
50 UU Religious Educators
279 UU Congregations

I don’t have stats on the counts from previous years, though I’ve logged these numbers for future comparison.

Hashtags: Though they are now more mainstream, I don’t see many Unitarian Universalists using them well.  Some do, but not overall.  There’s huge potential to bring our congregations, clergy and other UUs on Twitter into larger conversations using hashtags.  Hard to say if it is lack of technical understanding, or simply lack of intention to reach out.

Gini’s Twitter Lesson: At the UUA’s 2013 General Assembly then moderator Gini Courter gave the full plenary a brief Twitter lesson.  It was great to see this attention brought to social media at GA.

VIDEO
The UU video site I curate, http://www.unitarianuniversalism.tv now has over 2450 UU videos. Alas, many are poorly filmed, and are designed for viewing by existing members chained to their pews. Unless someone is already a member or friend of the congregation, you have maybe 3 to 5 seconds to grab their attention. Many of the sermon videos posted online take 3 to 5 minutes, an eternity for a web video.

Also, many congregations are not titling their videos or tagging with keywords which reduces their value. Titles, descriptions and keyword tags will greatly increase the reach of the videos UUs are presently producing.

I’ve had many inquiries from congregations wanting to take their video to the next level (or to start filming) in 2014, which is encouraging. I still advocate for starting with an awesome podcast and periodic video messages designed for outreach (a message from your minister speaking directly to viewer online), and then getting into video of sermons.

PINTEREST
There are approximately 20 active UU congregations and UUA accounts on Pinterest. A search for “Unitarian Universalist” results in ~35 related boards. Numbers are approximate as some appear to not have been used since creating some time ago.

GOOGLE +
I’m getting circled more often by UU’s but I don’t know if people are really using Google+ more or are just being forced to create accounts to use Google services.  As for congregations, a search for Unitarian results in ~90 UU congregations (with profile photos) on Google+.  Searches for Unitarian Universalist yields fewer number, and Universalist fewer still so  “Unitarian” seems best for tracking the trend at this point.

What are your observations on 2013?
And your hopes and dreams for UU Social Media in 2014?

Share your comments on Dan’s post at
The year in review: UU social media in 2013.

Checking in on Youtube stats

Just looked at my Youtube channel stats for September and 30% of videos were watched on mobile devices.  Only 12% were viewed as embedded videos.  Just goes to show how critical it is to 1) put your videos on Youtube if you want them discovered organically and 2) that mobile is increasingly the norm.   I think about all of the Unitarian Universalist sites that aren’t mobile optimized, using vimeo, etc…. Gotta go where the people are and that’s Youtube…