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We're not about global connection, we're about local engagement.

5 Reasons to Use a Private Social Network

Posted by Kevin D. Hendricks on 13 June 2011

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The Table is a private social network, as opposed to a public social network like Facebook. Each one has its own pros and cons, but we think both private and public social networks have their place in a church's strategy. Public social networks like Facebook are pretty well accepted (as 500 million users can attest), but private social networks like the Table may require a little more explanation.

So we offer five reasons your church should use a private social network:

1. Privacy & Intimacy - There are some things you can post to Facebook and some things you can't (or at least you shouldn't!). Facebook is inherently a public, broadcasting platform. You're shouting things from the rooftop to the entire world. A private social network isn't about public broadcasting, it's about connecting with a small community. So things you share are inherently different. It's not public, it's personal. It's not broadcasting, it's sharing. It's not global, it's local. You can't do those things well in a public social network. But a private social network creates a community where it's safe to share and connect. The privacy creates intimacy that results in deeper community.

2. Security - While no online social community is perfectly secure, a private social network is inherently more secure. It's a private social network. It's designed to be a closed community, not an open one. Privacy is at the heart of the system, which means security is at the center of the development plans. Plus a private social network is built around a real life community. That's an added level of security because you're unlikely to come across a stranger that nobody knows—and in the rare case that happens, you can remove them. In a public social network everybody is welcome, including the nefarious element.

3. Built for the Church - When you set up a private social network it's usually built for a specific audience, which means you can tailor the system to that audience. For churches, that means adding elements like the Prayer Wall, Serve App and favorite Bible verses in your profile.

4. Safe Content - With a private social network you're not going to get sidebar ads featuring scantily-clad women selling questionable products. It's a hazard of the Internet, but it's especially true in social networks where ads can be so cleverly disguised. A private social network can simply slam the door on that kind of garbage. A public social network has room for everything under the sun. That can be great when you're sharing the gospel. But it's not so great when you use the search function and all kinds of groups and content come up—often stuff you wouldn't share with your pastor.

5. Defined Community - A public social network is designed for the world at large, meaning global community. That can be pretty powerful. But when you're trying to connect with a specific group, you need to do some gate-keeping. Most public social networks aren't designed to do gate-keeping—they're all about the huge community. But private social networks are designed for the community as you define it. So you're not worried about gate-keeping or losing your community to other efforts.

A private social network like the Table is a different experience. It encourages openness and honesty, the building blocks of true community.


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