First of all – I set up our church with a Posterous site that we now use as our Missions Blog.This was by far the easiest blogging/updating tool to use – and it’s all email-based, so I’d just attach some photos to an email, send it from my iPhone, and it would automatically update Facebook/Twitter/Flickr and any other service that I wanted. For more information on Posterous, read my post Posterous: The Perfect Solution for Blogging & Sharing Your Media Everywhere.
Middle School Trip: aka “The Trip Where I Had 3G Service”
On the middle school mission trip, being in an area that had both wifi and 3G service was obviously great. I could post live real-time updates/photos/videos, which was fun for parents to see. And I could just post a lot more as well. I would do some quick posts after we got settled in to a location or ministry site, and get some fun shots of the kids. Luckily, the place we were staying at night had wifi, so after lights out, I could lay in my sleeping bag + air mattress, type up a summary post of the day and upload some larger images and videos. It was a really good mix of both small, short, real-time updates throughout the day, and longer reflection posts at night.
I had a lot of fun with these kids and we found some fun ways to use social media while on this mission trip. We did a variety of different kinds of posts:
When I got home (and actually throughout the trip as well), I got emails and texts from parents who were so appreciative of being able to follow along. I even received an email from a grandparent of two of the kids who just loved being able to see her grandkids serving in this way. That was enough confirmation for me that it was worth doing.
I will say that I did have to limit my own use. I quickly checked Twitter/Facebook and any urgent emails at night, but didn’t spend a lot of time catching up on my own stuff. I found that I was pretty focused on the mission stuff, and that was good.
In the next post, I’ll share with you how I used social media on our next trip, which was quite different.