Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Media Meets Religion Day 2 - Branding and Language

Day two was great for me. Not only did I survive through most of the day without any coughing fits but the discussion was excellent, too!

We started off the day talking about branding and what that means. Parts of this discussion got pretty personal since we were talking about our personal brand. Mat asked who among us had given thought to our personal brands and then asked me specifically. I'm wondering if that was partially influenced by our brief conversation the previous night about my political aspirations but it might have just been the attentive look I had on my face (I think that's how I looked, at least). Since I am interested in pursuing a career in politics I have given quite a bit of thought to my personal brand. I shared some of the things that have gone into that thought process and also the struggles that this had led me to.

The discussion morphed into the possible clash between our individual brands and our corporate brands that we might represent. The entire class was very engaged in trying to sort out the ramifications of what we were talking about and topics ranged widely from theologies to praxis and all sorts of things. In the end I found the entire discussion to be very helpful, especially once we were assigned the task to start developing and writing down our personal brand. I found myself going back to this document throughout the day and adding things as I thought of new aspects about myself that I wanted to be included in how others perceive Chuck Steel.

The bulk of the afternoon was spent speaking with Verity Jones who is the Director of the Center for Pastoral Excellence at Christian Theological Seminary and also the Director of the New Media Project now at CTS (formerly Union). Her brief lecture provided a lot of points and one of the most salient for me was concerning the language used on Facebook pages. Because it is a social network churches should be sure to use welcoming language when posting on a page, rather than treating it like an advertisement of old. For instance, instead of saying "Bake Sale on Saturday. Volunteers Needed" a much better tone would be "We're having a bake sale this Saturday and would love to see you there. Let us know if you can help out."

This focus on language has been a theme in my learnings when studying theology. Often times the language we use plays a key role in how we think about a subject, and this language will cast overtones on how we interact and relate to the thing we're describing in ways that we may not fully understand at first. This also goes back to some of the things we said yesterday about being very intentional with how we are using social media.

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