Monday, June 05, 2017

I focus on Faith groups and Business to reach those not on-line

Faith groups - many denominations
This map was created between 2008 and 2010 and shows faith groups of many major denominations with locations in the Chicago region. It's one of many similar maps found on the MappingforJustice blog, such as this.

I was prompted to write this today because I've been watching the 2017 #MCON conference live and tweeting ideas from my blogs.  I've also been engaging with a network of others on a Digital Citizenship (#digciz) event, which is on many platforms.

The reason I point to this map of faith groups is that while there is a lively interaction on Twitter that is spread through many blogs and other places, less than 30% of Americans actually use Twitter, according to this PEW Research Center report.  While nearly 80% are on Facebook, that does not mean you're reaching 80% of your friends, or many other people with your posts and comments.

Thus, were engaging with too small of a crowd.

I've used graphics like this for nearly 20 years to show role of a single person who acts daily to draw people she knows to information they can use to become involved in supporting the growth of mentor-rich programs in all poverty neighborhoods of Chicago.

If you see yourself as the RED circle, your tweets, retweets, etc can draw others to this information, and the group will grow from year-to-year.   However, as I was reminded by an in-law recently, who is an executive of a big company, he does not use Twitter, nor does he use the Internet this way. While he has hundreds, perhaps more than a thousand contacts in his phone contact list, he reaches out to them, one-by-one when he wants information or wants to connect.  He's very active in social justice causes, and in his faith group. He's just not yet using the Internet to bring his network to on-line libraries, discussions and networks.

Catholic churches

He, and many others, may never use the Internet the way I do. But they could lead the face-to-face mobilizing and learning that is needed. Many already do.

The dots on these maps represent individual churches where people from business, universities, hospitals, politics, sports, etc, gather each week to hear a sermon, meet for Bible study, or talk about local-global issues that they care about.

Imagine if there were a flag on 50% of these churches, indicating an effort to draw members to my blogs, my on-line libraries of information, and to on-line discussions that I'm part of, where they could expand what they know and how they connect with each other, and with others beyond their local congregation.

Over time that would build a massive army of people who were working to help youth born or living in high poverty areas, move through school and into jobs and careers. 

See pdf presentation

No one who goes to a church, synagogue or temple every week is expected to know everything about that religion. They are learning a little every week, and are reinforcing what they learned in previous weeks and past years.

I've posted 47 articles on this blog that show strategies faith leaders could apply to build learning circles in their congregations that then influence what others in the village do to support the growth of youth serving programs in high poverty neighborhoods.

If just a few people from different congregations begin to dig into these as much as people are digging in to scripture, or the Digital Citizenship and MCON articles, they can begin hosting study groups with others from their local group, and build on-line conversations that engage people from other churches in their own city, or in many other cities.

They could be the bridge that connects the on-line world with the off-line world, with their faith group providing the infrastructure needed to make this an on-going, long-term process. 

If they create a map they can plot locations of congregations that have this strategy, with the goal of increasing the number on the map as part of the strategy of bringing more people into efforts to solve local-global problems.

And, while I focus on faith groups in this article, the process could be duplicated in K-12 schools, colleges, businesses,  and any other place where 2 or more people meet regularly and are concerned with issues that they cannot solve by themselves.

Furthermore, while I focus on youth and poverty, groups could focus on any of the issues that face people locally and throughout the world.

Who's doing this?

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