Facebook Timeline, Pinterest, Instagram and the rise of the visual social network

Over the last month I have been updating some of the social media pages for the ministries I work with. The main updates I have been making are to facebook timeline, setting up instagram accounts and Pinterest accounts. These three networks have a common theme going on that I have noticed over the last year, they are becoming much more visual. The Visual Social Network era is here. Facebook Timeline is a great example of a visual representation of our facebook experience. Prior to the launch of timeline, the facebook profile page was considered the most under utilized part of the social network. Profile pages and Fan pages were simply plain representations of the user but not very interactive or visual. Now Facebook didn’t want to go to the extreme of letting the entire page become customizable and load slow like myspace, but they knew they had to turn the profile page into more of a visual representation of the person and a destination that people will spend time at, mainly for advertising purposes. And as we can all see, Facebook timeline has taken social media by storm.

But let’s not overlook the other two great visual social media platforms, Facebook bought Instagram for 1 Billion dollars for one reason, it’s a mobile visual social network. 30 million users are on instagram and as of the announcement of their purchase by Facebook, they had added 10 million downloads of the mobile app on iOS and Android devices. Instagram is based on photo and video editing filters that people can add to their photos/videos they take with their mobile devices and post to their instagram account. Instagram accounts can be followed and commented on within the mobile social network as well as posted on other networks such as facebook and twitter. But the main draw of Instagram is that it is fully mobile, there is no desktop version of the platform, it operates fully within the mobile space and is just pictures and videos.

Next up is Pinterest, pinterest has rapidly risen to become the 3rd largest social network in the world. Having a large user base with women, Pinterest is a visual social network that has a mobile and desktop presence. It’s based on pictures and videos and allows you to comment, pin, create boards and repin photos and videos. This visual multimedia social network shows the evolution of the visual aspects of social networking and the focus they have.

The benefit to ministries is that these visual social networks give ministries the ability to tell their story using great multimedia. Using amazing photos and videos, ministries can visually capture moments of their ministry and share them with the world. Many ministries are able to tell their stories in print but how many can visually explain to the world how amazing their ministry is and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ!

How can Churches use Pinterest

Just last week I was asked about Pinterest and how it could be used for churches. I have been watching Pinterest, just as I watched Path, Color, Instagram, and other online software tools that seemed to be based on pictures. I initially thought Pinterest was going to just be another fad but as time progressed (fueled by a large female audience), Pinterest took off and hasn’t looked back. Here are a few links that I looked at first prior to getting started on Pinterest for myself.

My initial thoughts on Pinterest are that it’s the easiest and best way to tell a visual story for your ministry. The church has the greatest story ever about Jesus Christ so why not use multimedia (pictures and video) to tell this story. It’s been years in the making that a network that focused on the most engaging forms of media on the internet, pictures and video, would eventually take off. It just need to be easy enough that anyone could do it quickly and with a low learning curve. Pinterest is just that, easy, visual and engaging. Now, here are some examples of great things that your church can post to get you started on Pinterest. (List below is from Ministry Best Practices Link above):

  • Share inspiring quotes
  • Share photos of your people serving, doing ministry or doing life together
  • Share news
  • Highlight books/music
  • Sharing the gospel/evangelism
  • Share sacred art/stations of the cross
  • Scrapbook your church's body life
  • Create themed boards for your church's singles/youth
  • Highlight your events
  • Share pictures that illustrate your sermon series
  • Highlight your ministry's mission

Have fun and if you are looking for more information about Church and Technology you can check out The iChurch Method today.