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Viewing entries tagged with 'profile'
The Table is all about connecting people. One simple way you can do that is by adding your skills and interests to your profile. This accomplishes three things:
- It helps people get to know you. When they check out your profile, they get a quick taste of who you are, what you like to do and what you're good at. It can be a helpful conversation starter on Sunday morning.
- It helps people find you. You can search the People Directory for skills and interests and see everyone in your church who likes biking or is good at gardening. You can search or just click on your own skills and interests to find other people with the same skills and interests. Suddenly you've found a bunch of book lovers in your church who might help you start a book club.
- It helps you find ways to serve. When you add the Serve App to your Me page it can pull up volunteer opportunities that might appeal to you. It does this based on location, volunteer categories you choose, and the interests and gifts you list in your profile. This can be a good way to discover more volunteer opportunities in your church and get involved.
But these things only work if you add your skills and interests. Go to your profile, click on "Edit Profile" and then go to "About Me" to add your skills and interests today (watch this video for more help).
Empty amusement parks are creepy. You can't hear the squeals of joy or echoes of laughter. You don't see throngs of people or smell that buttery popcorn. You just hear crickets. You see an empty roller coaster, waiting for riders. There's no activity, no movement, no energy. Every little noise is magnified in the silence and you can't keep from looking over your shoulder wondering who's watching. A piece of trash tumbles through the street, blown by the wind. Yeah, creepy.
That's how the Table can feel when there's nobody in it. OK, maybe not that creepy, but it is pretty boring to log on to the Table for the first time and find it empty. Much like an amusement park, the Table wasn't designed to sit there empty. The Table was designed to be populated with people. That's when it's at its best. Until you get some people in the Table it's going to be an empty amusement park—more creepy than inviting.
That's why we encourage you to get your church leadership on board before you jump in and launch the Table. We also think you should come up with a launch plan to roll the Table out to your church. Use content as a carrot to draw people in.
Avoid the empty amusement park when you launch the Table by greasing the wheels and pre-populating it with people and content:
1. Set a precedent. Be sure that the first few members lay a foundation by completely filling out their profiles. A silent profile and a blank face aren't welcoming. But with faces and details it's suddenly not so lonely.
2. Set up groups. Give people something to join. You don't have to go nuts, but it'd be nice if you could have some of the obvious groups set up: The worship team, the prayer team, the staff, the leadership board, children's ministry, etc. Now you've given people something to do when they visit the Table. Here's a quick video to walk you through it.
3. Create initial content. Post some prayers, add some items to the Serve App, post a question to the discussion board, add a photo. Not only will a little content keep things from being empty, but you'll show people how it's done.
4. Invite people. In our launch plan we recommend setting up some key groups and having those leaders invite their group members. Get those people on the Table and using it before you roll out to your entire church. Suddenly the map view in the directory is peppered with people instead of a lonely one or two.
Now when you launch and people start coming in they won't find a virtual tumbleweed blowing down empty streets. Instead they'll see conversation, interaction, life.
(photo by Keo101)
In the latest Round Table webinar we dive into the user profile, one of the basic components of the Table and how you can make the most of it. We cover all the functionalities and settings, the design philosophy and how to get your community to complete their profiles.
You can watch the archived video here:
Watch: How to Promote Profiles (27:06)
We've talked about how helpful it is to have a directory full of smiling faces from your church. Unfortunately, sometimes your directory looks more like this:
Poor Ellen looks kind of lonely surrounded by all those strangers.
A sea of default profile pics is one of the challenges to getting widespread use of the Table in your church. No one wants to join a community of faceless people. Sometimes people don't realize how much difference a picture can make.
So how can you encourage people to upload a profile picture? We have a few ideas:
Make It Easy
We have directions and a how-to video that make it easy to upload a profile picture. We also explain why we think it's important. Include these links in your communications about the Table.
Picture Taking Station
Even in the age of cell phone cameras some people just don't have a picture of themselves in a handy digital format they can upload. They need help. Set up a picture taking station in your church lobby and offer to take profile pictures before or after the service.
Lo-Fi: Use a digital camera and a sheet of paper to write down their email address. Take someone's picture and then email it to them.
Hi-Fi: If you want to go for the full service route, have a laptop handy and use software like Apple's Photo Booth. Take their picture with the laptop and then have them log in to the Table to upload their picture immediately.
Don't Be a Stranger
Call attention to the faceless profiles and have fun with it. We have some handy default profile picture cutouts that you can use. Have your Table champion do an announcement about the Table while hiding behind the default picture cutout.
As a SuperAdmin you can go through your church's directory and send a Quicknote to every person who still has a default profile pic. Send them the link to our Don't Be a Stranger post and encourage them to upload a pic today. Offer to help them out if they need it.
You can quickly send mass Quicknotes like this by going to the Manage section and then to the Directory tab. On each page of names just click the check box next to each faceless member. Then click the ‘Bulk Action' drop down at the top and select ‘Send Note' and click ‘Apply.' You'll have to repeat this process for each page of names, but it's a little faster than doing it one at a time.
One of the most useful features of the Table is the directory. Surfing through all the names and faces is a great way to learn and remember names. You can click on the faces to learn more about the people in your community. You can even stop and say a prayer for each person you pass. It's a great way to connect.
Unless you come across one of these:
The dreaded default profile pic. That's what you look like when you don't upload a profile picture. A default grey silhouette. It's hard to match your name with this face. You're a stranger.
Don't be a stranger.
Upload a profile picture. Step out of the shadows and be a person. Put a real face to that avatar. A faceless and silent profile is a sure way to stifle community. That's why we think it's important to upload a profile picture.
Tip: Use a close-up headshot so we can see your smiling face!
How Do You Upload a Profile Picture?
Easy. Here's a video that shows you how to add a profile pic or you can read our instructions below.
Step 1: You'll need a picture of yourself saved on your computer. It can be a JPG, GIF or PNG file. You can crop and resize your pic after it's uploaded.
Step 2: When you're on the Table, click on "Howdy Kevin" (or whatever your name is) at the top to access your profile. Under the default gray silhouette that is so not you is a link that says "Change Pic"—click on it.
Step 3: Click "Browse" to find the image on your computer. Check the box to indicate that you own the picture and it's appropriate, and then click "Submit" to upload it.
Step 4: Next you'll have a chance to crop and resize the photo. The square is what your finished profile pic will look like—as shown in the preview square. Click and hold to reposition the square, and drag a corner to resize and zoom in on your smiling face.
Click "Crop" when you're finished to save. Click "Canel" to completely quit and go back to your profile, or click "Delete Photo" to scrap this picture and upload a new one.
That's it. You're no longer a stranger.
Tip: A picture of your dog or favorite cartoon character doesn't help anyone recognize you and learn your name. Use a picture of you!
Thousands of people all over America (from 30 of the 50 states!) are already using the Table, praying for each other, and going deeper in community with each other. We couldn't be more excited, and from the feedback we're hearing, many of them feel the same! But even if you're not in one of the 50 fast-acting churches to have gotten onto the Table in November, you won't have to wait long to experience it for yourself. Stay tuned.
For those folks who are already on the Table, there's one troubling trend we're seeing that we'd like to warn against. It acts like a wet blanket on your community. We'll call this trend the "silent profile." You'll recognize a silent profile right away when you see it. It looks a lot like this:
If you were in a church with this person, and you wanted to get to know them, what would you do next? You don't know what their hobbies or gifts are because they haven't entered any on their profile. You can't recognize them in the hallway next Sunday because they haven't uploaded a profile photo. They haven't linked to any of their profiles on other social networks, so you can't get to know them that way either. It's hard to relate to this person because we know nothing about him.
You might be thinking, "But I can just walk up to a stranger next Sunday, introduce myself, and start asking questions." You're right. But let's face it, most of us simply never introduce ourselves to strangers, and we leave it at that. Some people even react negatively to that kind of introduction.
A better idea is to have more options for more kinds of introductions. Let's lower the bar, make the introduction less nerve-wracking, and get something started that's convenient for everyone. It's forward momentum even if it's not a big first step. Don't worry, you'll be shaking hands in the foyer and having coffee soon enough. It's already happening at the churches that are on the Table now.
Now, let's pretend this was the profile we saw instead of the "silent" one:
We can see quite a lot about this person! We know what he looks like, we can see he's a technology enthusiast, he's on several other social networks, and he loves to sing. From his choice of Leviticus 13:40 we can even tell he has a sense of humor about his bald head.
It's a lot easier to introduce yourself to the person in this profile than the person in the first one. We could send him a quicknote and ask questions about which video games he's currently playing, we could ask for help in developing a website, or send him an email and discuss the finer points of his favorite verses.
The options are limitless, and many of them may lead to meeting him in person, becoming good friends, and having a relationship where you pray for each other, sharpen each other, and serve each other. Eventually, you may even serve others in your community side-by-side with him.
So for your sake and your community's sake, avoid the silent profile. If you see someone on your church's Table with a silent profile, send them a quicknote and ask them to upload a photo or add some information about themselves to their profile! You'll both be glad you did.
If you're the owner of a silent profile, don't feel bad. We don't mean to pick on you. But we do want to point out that you can't get a lot out of the Table if you put nothing in, just like any other relationship. So you want to improve your profile? There's hope! Our friend Jeff has made two videos showing you how to upload your own profile photo, and how to show your interests and skills using "tags" on your profile. It's easy! Enjoy. You'll be making life-long friends in no time.