Google, Twitter, and Facebook Leaders Tell Christian Media to Embrace Tech Giants

NASHVILLE – Top leaders from Google, Twitter, and Facebook made it clear that it's best that traditional media embrace the three Internet tech giants, they said while speaking at the annual National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville on Monday.

Guest speaker Claire Diaz-Ortiz, Twitter's social innovation leader, said that while her company was doing some analytics, just three years ago "we started to see that Bible verses were doing really well."

"Someone would tweet out Bible verses and 500 people would immediately re-tweet it," Diaz-Ortiz said. "People of faith were really engaged with these Bible verses. Religious content on Twitter is incredibly engaged. You can look at a pastor such as Andy Stanley and see that he will tweet something out and get more reaction and more engagement than famous celebrities like Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber with 50 times as many followers."

After working in an orphanage in Kenya several years ago, and telling her story through the use of Twitter, Diaz-Ortiz met with leaders from Twitter and was asked how she would like to help explore how individuals using the social media platform make a difference in the world.

She began work with Twitter in 2009 as its social innovation leader. She is the author of Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time. She is the co-founder of Hope Runs, a non-profit organization operating in AIDS orphanages in Kenya.

Facebook's Katie Harbath, whose political campaign experience helped land her the job as the site's manager for policy, said her focus was political outreach. She framed the many changes across the board on the web.

"The Internet and how people use it is constantly changing and so what worked six months ago may have changed," Harbath said.

Although some people add as many Facebook friends as they can accumulate, she believes the value of the site is not found in a numbers game.

"The number of fans you have on your page is important, absolutely, but in reality it's how many of those people are engaged with you. A fan is worthless if they are not seeing your content and not engaging," she said.

She added, "We don't want you to think that you have to have large numbers to be successful, but what we really want you to start thinking about is how do we become social in everything that we do… every email campaign, every television campaign, [and] everything that we are doing on radio, because social media isn't meant to take away from those [tools], it's meant to amplify those. It's meant to use for your fans and their social connections to help further amplify all that content that you are putting out and that's what all three of us here today can really help you do."

Rob Saliterman, senior account executive at Google, talked about its ownership of YouTube and how it is one of the most viewed sites on the Internet. Some analysts say that the site has had more than 3 trillion views since it began in 2005.

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