#Ashtag 2015 – Official Meme of Ash Wednesday Masses

Can we top Ash Wednesday 2014 when we got #ashtag trending internationally with a meme of the Ellen selfie at the Oscar?

You’ve got two choices for 2015:

1) Left Shark and Katy Perry getting their ash on!

leftshark-ashtag-markalves-
Square (great for Instagram)
leftshark-gplus-markalves
Full size
leftshark-tw-markalves
Wide (2×1) for Twitter

2) Fifty Shades of Grey if you’re feeling a bit saucier.

50shades-fb-ashtag-markaves

Please share these and spread the word about the start of Lent. A bit of humor can be a great way of starting a deeper conversation.

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Mass Madness Church Brackets

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March Madness brackets for Catholics and church-goers. Who do you have going to the Faithful Four? (Click to enlarge)

Take an Ash Wednesday Selfie and Use #Ashtag

UPDATE: The BBC interviewed me once this started trending globally on Twitter. Just call me the Godfather of the #Ashtag +:-)

Want to spread the word about the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday? There are plenty of ways for your church to do so. And here’s an easy way for you and your friends to do so.

1. Take a selfie with your ashes.

2. Tag it #ashtag

3 Share on your favorite social channels.

Selfie on Ash Wednesday = #Ashtag
Selfie on Ash Wednesday = #Ashtag [square format, good for sharing on Instagram]
https://twitter.com/markalves/status/430895526180294658

Now if you are giving up social media for Lent, this is the perfect way to go out in style while explaining your upcoming 40-day absence. And if you are taking on some #chsocm (church social media) during Lent, this works, too!

Selfie on Ash Wednesday? It's an #Ashtag
This one is optimized for sharing on Twitter since it’s sized 2×1.

Also check out FOCUS’s post: The 8 Types of Ashes You Might Get on Ash Wednesday!

Thanksgiving Prayers from Twitter – 2012 Edition

Thanksgiving is one of those days of the year where we should give thanks for our blessings. (The other 364.25 days are good choices, too.) As I’ve done before, here’s the 2012 round-up of Thanksgiving prayers from Twitter:

http://twitter.com/lindalongwrites/status/271260972843401216

And lastly there’s a Thanksgiving Prayer from a Concord Pastor, which I tweeted so I could sneak it in here.

Perhaps these offered some inspiration for you this Thanksgiving. Take time to count your blessings and share them with others.

Linus’s Thanksgiving Prayer from Charlie Brown

Your Social Justice Ministry Leaders Are Live Tweeting the Presidential Debates, Right?

Election 2012 Panel at Social Media Week DC
Panel discussion at Social Media Week DC. Photo by Mark Alves

Are your church’s social justice leaders and volunteers taking a break from saving the world so they can watch the presidential debates?

Tell them not to bother unless they’re going to live tweet their reactions during the debates themselves. Why? Today’s micro news cycles survive on instant feedback. If your social justice team isn’t sharing their reactions immediately on Twitter then they’ve missed out on joining the national conversation.

Ridiculous or not, that’s one of the takeaways from the Election 2012 and the Fight for the Internet panel at the Washington Post during Social Media Week in DC.

Reporters are expected to file stories immediately after the debates. Thanks to Twitter, journalists can quickly get a sense of audience reactions and see whether other reporters are drawing similar conclusions right on the spot.

(The tweet above would have been much better if I had gotten political strategist Joe’s name right. So sorry, Mr. Trippi (@joetrippi).) He was one of the panelists along with Post reporter Karen Tumulty, SocialFlow VP of research and development Gilad Lotan, and Hitwise analyst Cristina Bell (no Twitter?). The event was facilitated by the Post’s national digital editor, Amanda Zamora.

Will your organization be part of that discussion? You’ve got a chance if you chime in on Twitter during these major political events.

What about Facebook? It sounds funny to say about a company that is often in the news for privacy controversies, but many of the posts on that channel are not set to public so those conversations are missed. Twitter posts, conversely, are public in most cases and make a better barometer of public opinion. Save Facebook for reaching your own audience rather than reporters.

The televised debates are here. Speak up. Retweet. Join in.

What Does #MassCheckIn Hashtag Mean?

It means it’s Pentecost Sunday. And the folks who brought you #baconless during Lent are back with another Catholic meme. Just like the apostles went forth regardless of language, you’re invited to evangelize whatever your preferred social network. So on Pentecost, check in using hashtag #MassCheckIn whether you’re on Facebook or Foursquare, and tag a photo on Flickr or Instagram. See more info about #MassCheckIn.

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What Do Facebook Page Admins Want? Here’s What I Told Facebook

Facebook sent me a Facebook Page Admin survey that included an open-ended comment section at the end. What would be on your list of requests as a Facebook administrator for a church page? Off the top of my head, here’s how I replied.

  • Better incorporation of my organization’s existing Google Analytics account
  • Choice of URL shorteners and tracking
  • Option to schedule future posts within the main Facebook interface
  • More options for applying formatting to text in a wall post
  • A preview screen that shows how many lines will appear before it’s cut off by “more…” once a wall post is published.
  • Allow Youtube videos to be embedded without being surrounded by scroll bars (yes, Facebook, I know you’re encouraging us to upload our church videos directly to Facebook video, but c’mon. YouTube remains the industry standard for video embedding, for now at least, and should be accommodated.)
  • When a post includes multiple links make it easier to pick which one shows up in the blurb rather than defaulting to the first one.
  • When an event is posted to the wall, provide the option to include the existing photo of the event and more details. The previous version allowed this. The current one-line description on the wall doesn’t make it clear which link is for the event and does not help with engagement at all.

Along the way, I noticed along the way that Facebook uses Intellisurvey for soliciting feedback.

Those are some Facebook Page improvements I’d like to see administrators have. Did you receive a survey? What are you clamoring for from Facebook?