Cosmos in a hashtag?

Yesterday the C of E published its analysis of the Easter social media campaign. The hashtag #everythingchanges was used by many when tweeting their anticipation of, and excitement about, Easter. The press release (full text here or below) shows how people have used and engaged with the idea. Here’s my brief thoughts on the whole shenanigan.

The campaign ‘reach’ was 5.8m people. That’s pretty good, I reckon. I know some of my tweets had the hashtag, some didn’t; and I was deliberately trying to be quieter than normal over Holy Week, so I tweeted a fair bit less than I would have done normally. I’m also not one to make gospel proclamations via Twitter. My take on it is that Twitter is a conversation – and I’m not the kind of person to stand in the corner of a pub quoting the Bible at people, or aggressively. Things might come up in that conversation, but anything else is plain weird and verging on the VicarBot. So I’m never going to stop tweeting nonsense about runs, or #trainprayer, or when I’ve made a pot of tea and suddenly, because it’s Easter, start churning out the religious platitudes.

But, by having a hashtag we can all use, our everyday conversations can be peppered with this pointer. We can carry on with our varied conversations, with different people, on different platforms, even, and yet we all point to the same revolutionary news of the resurrection when we talk about what is going on for us.

I am encouraged by the approach the C of E took with this – a way of helping dispersed users contribute to a sense of a whole. I’m not sure how much sense it made to people outside the particular bubble, but we can work on that for the future.

“Good News in a nutshell, Cosmos in a Hashtag”
#EverythingChanges as Church Twitter campaign reaches 5.8 million at Easter

Almost 6 million people were reached by the Church of England’s (@c_of_e) Easter 2013 twitter campaign according to figures released today. Official figures from Twitter showed a cumulative reach of 5.8m users from the 8,527 tweets sent over the Easter period, from Good Friday to Easter Day, using the hashtag #EverythingChanges.

Devised by the Church of England’s Communications office with a group of Christian tweeters and bloggers, the aim of the campaign sought to highlight the Christian meaning of Easter on the social media network. Tweets were sent from across the country with a marked tone of solemnity and sorrow in tweets on Good Friday and peaking on Easter Day with tweets celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Vicky Beeching (@vickybeeching) – Research Fellow in Internet ethics at the University of Durham said: “The #everythingchanges hashtag was another great example of the Church engaging proactively with the digital sphere. To get a new ‘digital generation’ to feel welcome in Church and to hear the Christian message, using social media is crucial. Social media is a medium where all of life is lived; meaningful messages can be communicated and the Church is boldly embracing the digital world in these campaigns.”
The Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt. Revd Paul Butler (@BishopPaulB) – was one of a number of Bishops who took part in the campaign – said: “#everythingchanges caught the imagination of people across the county. Since we seek to share the joy of the risen Jesus that’s good news.” The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt. Revd. Dr John Inge (@BishopWorcester) added: “I’m delighted to have been able to be one of those tweeting the wonderful good news which we celebrate in the resurrection – that love wins.”

Tweets were sent from across the country from both those in the pews and those in pulpits. Trainee Vicar Liz Clutterbuck (@LizClutterbuck) said: “The #EverythingChanges hashtag encapsulated the true meaning of the Easter season and it was hugely encouraging to watch it spread across Twitter from Good Friday onwards. Young and old embraced it and used it to demonstrate to their followers of all faiths and non what the resurrection means for all.” The Revd Peter Ould (@PeterOuld) added: “#everythingchanges demonstrated the way social media can, not just help bring faith communities together, but also enable them to reach out beyond their boundaries in innovative and modern ways. In an increasingly technologically grounded generation this is the way forward for the Church of England to communicate.”

The Bishop of Hertford, the Rt. Revd Paul Bayes (@paulbayes) who also tweeted, said : “You can share good news in any medium. Twitter is no exception. It’s great that we could share the best news of all – the resurrection of Jesus Christ – in 140 characters or less, at Eastertime this year. Because of Easter #everythingchanges, for the better, forever.” The Rt. Revd Dr. Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne (@BishopSherborne) said: “#everythingchanges focuses the vast scope of the cross and resurrection. It is more than Jesus being killed and raised, or my whole life being changed. It is as big as the whole universe beginning to be transformed. Good news in a nutshell. Cosmos in a hashtag.”

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