How Willow Creek Has Embraced Social Media for the Global Leadership Summit #wcagls
Almost exactly 2 years ago I wrote what may still be the most controversial and widely read blog post every published on Christian Web Trends:
To summarize the post… Willow Creek Community Church and Saddleback Church gained tremendous influence on American Christianity in part because they were masters of the mediums that were most influential in the 80s and 90s – preaching, books and conferences. In the 2000s, however, North Point Community Church and LiveChurch.tv gained a lot of influence because they have been exceptional in their use of mediums that have been most influential this century – video, blogging, and social media, which Willow Creek and Saddleback were slow to embrace.
2 Years Later…
Yesterday was the first day of the Willow Creek Association’s (WCA) 2011 Global Leadership Summit, and it’s encouraging to see the strides they’ve made in the last 2 years.
Here are 8 observations about the WCA’s use of social media at the Summit yesterday.
- WCA was extremely actively tweeting today @wcagls.
- Not only were they speaking on Twitter, but they were also listening and retweeting others who were tweeting about the Summit. Listening is huge!
- The Twitter hashtag #wcagls and blog http://www.wcablog.com were mentioned 2-3 times from the platform by Summit hosts.
- As a result, the Twitter hashtag was off the charts busy today.
- The WCA was also active on the Global Leadership Summit Facebook page today, posting quotes from speakers. They could have done more to engage by asking questions, posting links to blog posts, and responding to comments and wall posts, though.
- The WCA took a big step forward in inviting 6 skilled and well known bloggers to be the Summit’s official bloggers. Those bloggers also engaged their substantial numbers of Twitter followers with the Summit today.
- I am very impressed with how quickly the WCA posted to YouTube video of Bill Hybels announcement that Howard Schultz had backed out of his speaking commitment because of a small group of people who threatened to boycott the company. (On a side note, Bill was remarkably gracious to Howard and Starbucks in his statement.)
- But perhaps the thing that best demonstrates the WCA has embraced social media is the fact that they didn’t just turn it on for the Summit. They’ve been consistently blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, and posting videos to YouTube throughout the year about the Summit, its speakers, and related topics. You don’t do that unless you genuinely believe social media is an important way to build and maintain connections with people and commit the resources to make it happen.
The only significant social media hiccup that I noticed is that Michael Hyatt was reportedly interviewing the speakers backstage, but I have seen any mention of or links to those videos anywhere on WCA sites or social media. To be honest, though, I don’t know how anyone could watch those videos with so much packed into a full 8 hour day.
Have you been engaging in this year’s Global Leadership Summit through social media or the Summit’s blog? If so, what have your observations been?