Archives For PaganSpace

After publishing an SEO-optimized post about a great new pin, I tweeted the URL which auto-shared to my fan-page status update. If you don’t mind, could you go and +1 it?

Did you get that? Some of it?  If you are social media junkie, it made perfect sense and you are probably about to head over the Google+.  If not, you might be drowning in the social media frenzy that has taken over the internet.

Desk

Photo Courtesy Flickr’s caribb

Given my background, I frequently get asked questions about social media.  “Why should I use it?” or “How can it help my organization?”  “Which sites should I be on?” and “Is Facebook really a covert CIA organization plotting to replace humanity with cyborg intelligence?” While I can’t answer that final question, I thought I’d spend some time responding to the others as they relate specifically to the Pagan community.

The first and most obvious question is “What is social media?”  According to business marketing experts, Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein:

“..a group of Internet-based applications that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content” (International Associate of Exhibits and Events

In simple terms, social media is a virtual arena where you, the user, can see and be seen?  Better yet, hear and be heard.  No, that doesn’t work either.  Let’s try this.  It is the modern village festival, the town square, the party line, Usenet, the chat room, and even the text-based MUCKS (multi-user-chat-kingdoms).

facebook logoAs of today, what are the most popular social media sites?  First, we have the behemoth known as Facebook with 61% of worldwide social media market share.  In distant second, we find Twitter, Pinterest and StumbleUpon. To make the on-line party more titillating, there are social media adds-on such as the ever-popular YouTube, Instagram, Flickr, Four Square and others.  For those wondering, MySpace, a victim of Facebook’s world domination, was recently re-launched by its new celebrity owner, Justin Timberlake, and is trying to make a glamorous comeback.

Oh yea, and there is also Google+.

Alongside the A-listers, countless special-interest social media sites have appeared on the scene.  Whether you’re a scientist or reader, a cat lover or environmentalist, there’s a second-tier site just for you.  Pagans are no exception.  Sites such as Wiccan Together, Witchbook, and Paganspace are exclusively dedicated to the “magick” of social networking.

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In fact, for some Pagans, these dedicated sites are more than workplace distractions.  They provide a much-needed spiritual community when a real one is not available.  Not everyone lives in Pagan-rich areas complete with festivals, metaphysical stores, and private groups.  Additionally, not everyone is able to be openly Pagan.  Sites like Witchbook and Paganspace are the doorways to like-minded individuals.

Admittedly, I have never used any of the Pagan-dedicated sites.  I simply don’t have time, which brings me to the next question, “Which ones should I use?” The answer for individuals is very different from the answer for organizations and businesses.

twitter logo 2For the individual, the choice is simple.  Pick a few sites that cater to your interests and have fun.  If you love visuals, crafts, and recipes, use Pinterest. If you need a business network, use LInkedIn.  If you prefer to succinctly spew forth your opinions, try microblogging on Twitter.   If you like Justin Timberlake, open a MySpace account.

For organizations, businesses or artisans, the choice becomes a bit more complicated, whether your endeavor is Pagan-based or not.  Without getting into the nitty gritty of social media marketing, I suggest that you answer these five key questions before making any social media plunge:

  1. What is my product or service?
  2. What is my ultimate goal?
  3. Who is my target audience?
  4. Which platforms are they using?
  5. What is my budget?

Once these questions are answered, an effective, stream-lined, integrated social media marketing strategy can be firmly enacted to give your organization or business a solid digital presence.

Now, this all sounds so digitally glorious but there are some major pitfalls.   For businesses and organizations, the biggest hurdle stems from the misconception that a big following equates to a desired return, financial or otherwise.  Just because someone liked your Facebook fan page, doesn’t guarantee that he or she will ever buy one of your hand-crafted ritual robes.

Unfortunately, that’s the nature of social media.  “Likes” and “Follows” are the proverbial carrot in front of the horse.  They just dangle there in front of marketers, enticing them to keep playing the social media game.

Covenant of the Goddess

Covenant of the Goddess

Regardless, all business and organizations should have a social media presence.  For Pagan entities, a strong presence can aid the quest for social legitimacy while providing a doorway allowing the public access to good information.  Perhaps more importantly, social media can bridge the gap between the generations by connecting older, traditional organizations like Covenant of the Goddess and Circle Sanctuary, to the younger, tech-savvy generations.  Social media could be the broomstick that takes Paganism into the future.

However, there are bigger concerns, legal and sociological, that loom over the entire social media experience.   Who has a right to censor your feeds?  When does social media become public media?  Are you living your real-life just to have something good to post?  And, finally and most importantly, as humans, are we facing a possible disintegration of real-world social skills?

The time we spend sharing, following, and liking takes away from sharing time with friends, following dreams and liking new experiences.  While social media does help build connections in ways that weren’t previously possible, we must not allow it to overtake real life.  That is especially true for Pagans whose spirituality is tied so strongly to the natural world.

SunriseYou can’t watch a sunset on Twitter.  You can’t feel the full moon rise on Youtube.  You can’t hear a friend’s rhythmic drumming during a cold Solstice Eve on Pinterest.  We still need our live seasonal festivals.  We still need brick-and-mortar community centers and energy filled circles. No doubt that social media plays an important and useful role in our lives but it must be intertwined with live experience – capturing it, sharing it but never replacing it.

(Now feel free to click the buttons below to like this, share this, pin this and, while you’re at it, don’t forget the +1)

 

Pagan Community Notes is a companion to my usual Pagan News of Note series, more focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. I want to reinforce the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So lets get started!

Cherry Hill Seminary Names Two New Department Chairs: Pagan learning institution Cherry Hill Seminary has announced the appointment of chairs for its Community Education and Pastoral Counseling departments.

Rev. Dr. David Oringderff speaks with Lt. Gen. Mike Gould during a dedication ceremony for the Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel Falcon Circle May 3, 2011. Oringderff is the executive director of the Sacred Well Congregation and represented the Earth-Centered Spirituality community during a religious respect conference at the Academy in November 2010. Gould is the Academy superintendent. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

Rev. Dr. David Oringderff speaks with Lt. Gen. Mike Gould during a dedication ceremony for the Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel Falcon Circle May 3, 2011. Oringderff is the executive director of the Sacred Well Congregation and represented the Earth-Centered Spirituality community during a religious respect conference at the Academy in November 2010. Gould is the Academy superintendent. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

“Cherry Hill Seminary is pleased to announce two new academic appointments.  Valentine McKay-Riddell, Ph.D., is the new chair of Pagan Community Education, and David Oringderff, Ph.D., is the new chair of the Department of Pagan Pastoral Counseling.

A long-time professor for the department, Oringderff is well known for his role in the founding of Sacred Well Congregation, as well as many years of advocacy on behalf of Pagans in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Oringderff is a graduate of Dallas Baptist University, and holds an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Bowie State University (Maryland) and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from The Union Institute School of Professional Psychology in Cincinnati, Ohio. […] The second new appointment is that of Valentine McKay-Riddell, Ph.D., as Chair of Pagan Community Education (PCE).  McKay-Riddell is a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute and a member of the adjunct faculty at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA, where she earned a Masters in Counseling Psychology and a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology.”

Academic Dean Wendy Griffin, Ph.D., noted that Oringderff’s “combination of broad life experience and professional background are what our students need as they prepare to serve in the real world. As more and more individuals serving in the military turn to Cherry Hill Seminary for training for ministry, Dr. Oringderff’s extensive network will be a tremendous asset.” Our congratulations to both Valentine McKay-Riddell and David Oringderff on their new roles within CHS. You can read more about these appointments, and CHS, here.

An Interview With Langley Air Force Base’s New Wiccan Representative: While we’re on the subject of pastoral duties to Pagans in the military, Dead Hour Radio will be featuring an interview with Langley Air Force Base’s new Wiccan representative this Sunday. The host of the show, Carrie Lynn, is an Air Force veteran who started the very first Wicca group at Langley in 2000.

“This Sunday at 10pm EST, on our show we are hosting Langley AFB NEW Wiccan representative to talk about military pagan issues today and the Wiccan faith.”

You can read more about Pagans in the Air Force, here. You can read a piece written by Carrie back in 2000, here. It should be an interesting and enlightening show!

PaganSpace Moving to Member-Owned and Run Model: The Pagan social networking site PaganSpace is moving to a member-owned and run model. In a message to members, outgoing owner Starrfire Price explains the reasons for the change, and how the transition process will work.

“Following a recent announcement regarding the desire to sell PaganSpace I came to the conclusion that the best way to assure the future of PaganSpace is to basically sell it back to the community thus allowing PaganSpace to be placed into the hands of the community who helped bring it to where it is today.

I’ll still be on the site daily and retain admin privileges, I’ll also be training all the new people who step into their positions. I will also be remaining on the board of directors at 10%, under a newly formed corporation (PaganSpace, Inc) that will be formed once the polling ends and board members are elected. I’ll also retain the network site and the domain names for at least the first year (those things will be placed into the corporation name but I know no one will have the means to harm the site with it remaining in my hands). So, I’m not technically going anywhere but I will be freeing up time to complete the many goals and tasks that are in front of me.”

A FAQ has been up for contributors, and those who’d like to have a hand in running the site. PaganSpace is one the few survivors of the DIY social networking boom from a few years ago, a time that saw many Pagan-themed social networking hubs emerge. It will be interesting to see how they progress under this new model, and I wish them luck.

Other Community Notes:

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!