Social media is a rapid form of communication which is not dependent on third parties such as newspapers taking an interest. It can create a buzz as well as a sense of kinship and common purpose among followers, fostering interest and loyalty to the Church. It offers the possibility of engaging a broader age group, contact essential for renewal and growth in the Church.
It is important to feed it frequently and also to monitor it systematically as users are not passive recipients. The Communications Officer should aim to engage in dialogue as appropriate or take remedial action if comments are hostile. Sometimes it is better not to engage as some zealous correspondents escalate an exchange into a row that attracts attention. Users often vent spleen online at speed and without deep thought. One stinging tweet can go viral causing rapid reputational damage. ;Journalists often pick up stories from social media. Sometimes it is best to encourage the correspondent to direct message more details so that conflict can be diffused "off stage".
Photos and videos are becoming much more prevalent in social media, a development the team is keeping pace with.
Communication through social media does not just happen Monday-Friday 9-5, if you wish to grow a social media following you need to engage and respond regularly.