For those few of you who might not already know, there are thousands of senior pastors, student pastors and children’s pastors converging on Atlanta for The Orange Conference. If you don’t know anything about the Orange Conference, here is a short blurb from their site:
ORANGE IS THREE CONFERENCES ROLLED UP INTO ONE EVENT. It’s the only place that a senior pastor, student pastor, children’s pastor and volunteers that work within these ministries can learn together and begin formulating a strategy to impact the lives of the people in your congregation…
This year there has been a lot of online hype leading up to the conference.
They are saturating the blogosphere by having recruited some prolific bloggers from the student and children’s ministry areas as well as from other areas of the church world. A CP friend of mine Kenny Conley has a run down of them at his site.
Here is Kenny’s list:
Matt Mckee – Pastor of Students and Children, Horizon Community Church, OH
Chad Swanzy – Student Ministried Pastor, Gateway Church, TX
Anna Meadows – Associate Youth Pastor, LifeChurch.tv, OK
I’ve gotten to know a number of these fine people, so I am kinda jealous that they get to hang out with each other all in the same place without me… Yeah, that’s right… I am not going to Orange… sniff, sniff…
There are also some brown bag lunches planned for people to come to the bloggers’ lounge and interact with these bloggers and have some questions answered when it comes to blogging and online networking.
If you are at Orange and do visit, say hi to Kenny, Sam, Gina, Matt, JC, Jonathan, Rick and John for me!
Another place that Orange is trying to leverage social media is through Twitter. They’ve set up a twitter account that you can follow. They are also heavily encouraging attendees to use the hashtag #orange09 while at the conference. For the sake of those of us not attending, I second that encouragement. I plan on living Orange out vicariously through twitter and blogs… yes, I am that pathetic.
Now some of you might be wondering what Twitter is and how to get on and what a hashtag is. I put together a reference guide together on some of that a while back that you can check out here. For those of you not going to Orange and would like to be a poser like me and follow the #orange09 hashtag but are clueless on how to do it, Kenny put together a good tutorial on how to set follow hashtags via Tweetdeck.
There hasn’t been much on Facebook with Orange other than the Orange Conference Page, which you can become a fan of. When it comes to this type of social networking, I don’t think anyone has quite figured out how to leverage FB.
UPDATEE: Mike Jeffries reminded me about the Orange Leaders Facebook group. It’s another place to interact about Orange on FB.
Other Social Networks
CMConnect has set up a group for the Orange Conference and has a twitter feed on it’s main page showing all tweets with the #orange09 hashtag on it. Michael Chanley, creator of CMConnect will also be doing some TokBox conference calls from Orange periodically, so sign up for TokBox, friend Michael on TokBox, and follow him on Twitter to find out when he’s doing that.
Kidology also is getting into the Orange groove by setting up OrangeWatch 2009. You can follow all of the Orange excitement by bookmarking the page. Kidology members can also discuss all things Orange in the Kidology forums.
If you are at the Orange Conference and you are on Twitter or FB or blog, please share! There are some of us who can’t be there following what is going on. Don’t just share quotes or who’s onstage at what time or what you are eating for lunch. Share you feelings, experiences and impressions of the Orange Conference. And share quotes, who’s on stage and what you eat. Also don’t forget that all this social media isn’t just about you getting your word out, it’s about interacting with those there in person and those there virtually.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens with all of this saturation in the social media scene. One thing that I am wondering is if Orange is set up for too much online social saturation. Will there be online Orange fatigue with the abundance of blogging and most likely tweeting that will be happening? We’ll see.
The one big thing that is missing with all of this use of new media is steaming of any of the sessions. OK, I just found out they are streaming the opening session on Wednesday evening at 8:15 EDT. (Just click on “Live Webcast” on the bottom of the homepage.) I don’t know if this really counts, though, because it is sponsored by David C. Cook. Would they even have done the stream if it wasn’t sponsored by someone? Probably not… Yes, I’m being a bit critical, but I think this is one thing that a lot of ministry conferences don’t quite get. “There are people who have paid to come to the conference, why would we stream some of that content for free?” It’s about building trust and authenticity with those who aren’t there. It’s about letting people in on all the fun they missed by not being able to be there in person and making it a priority to come the following year. It’s also about a simple thing called sharing. I understand that bills have to be paid and people make their living doing this sort of thing, but with the ease of technology to share content, I think we need to be more generous with our content. On the other hand, I’ve never had to put a conference together so it’s easy for me to simply say we have to share. But come on! Make webcasting a part of you planning process as well as all this other social media stuff and budget for it… find sponsors, reallocate funds, whatever… but conferences really need to think more intentionally through all of this and have ppl who care and understand new social media be a part of the planning.
Anyway, I’m sure the conference will be great, and I look forward to interacting with those who are there from way up here in the Great White North.