How to Not Cause Panic on The Internet

On the tails of Facebook’s security breach, someone started a hoax that caused nation-wide panic and reminded me of Elf Bowling.

Elf Bowling began in 1998. Like Solitaire, we all had it on our computers at home and at work. In 1999, a hoax went around insinuating that, at midnight on Christmas Day, a hidden virus would infect every computer Elf Bowling was installed on. I still recall the panic I felt with my colleagues as we hastily dumped the game off our work and home computers only to realize we were duped. An unconfirmed rumor at the time suggested a competitive video game company created the hoax to drive profits away from the popular Christmas game. Passing on rumor does have consequences.

The Facebook hoax began with a message that said, “Hi….I actually got another friend request from you which I ignored so you may want to check your account. Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears…then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too….I had to do the people individually. PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT A NEW friendship FROM ME AT THIS TIME.”

Let’s explain why this hoax caused nation-wide panic.

“Hi….I actually got another friend request from you which I ignored so you may want to check your account.” This first line says the person who sent it received another friend request. When a person sends this to one or more of their friends, they are saying, “I received a friend request from you or someone acting like you on a duplicate Facebook profile,” when in fact, the person didn’t receive any requests. When a person sends this to someone they know on Facebook, it’s easy to take it at face value because we trust our friends.

This part of the message caused nation-wide panic. Numerous Facebook statuses began populating my newsfeed stating people had been hacked. This last part made one person uninstall their Facebook messaging because so many people did exactly what the last part of the message said, Hold your finger on the message until the forward button appears…then hit forward and all the people you want to forward too….I had to do the people individually.” 

Thankfully, I only received three forwarded messages. Others received far more, and it reminded me of Elf Bowling’s hoax because this hoax followed the recent Facebook security breach as if the hoaxster intended to discredit Facebook and cause people to delete their profiles. We need to take care what we forward to others.

If we are building relationships online, we need to act with discernment in what we choose to forward. Ask yourself these questions before forwarding an email or Facebook message:

  1. Is it true? If not, don’t send it. To check out a forward, do a Google search. I used, “Facebook Hoax” and, because it was the latest news, this particular hoax popped up. You can put in a few words in the story you are reading to see if anything will pop up on Google.
  2. Does the person you send the forward to like forwards? If you don’t know, have they ever responded to your forwards? If no, don’t send it. I once sent a group message and received irritated responses. I haven’t sent a group message since as I understand it annoys my Facebook friends. It’s all about knowing your audience.

In case you get messages like the latest Facebook hoax, send a text to your friend to verify if she sent the message. And, if anyone sends a message similar to this, and it asks you to forward it to all of your friends, don’t do it.

To kill this hoax, many, including myself, replied to statuses and posted our own statuses alerting everyone to this hoax so the forwards would stop and people’s phones would no longer vibrate with messaging notifications. Remnants continue, but for the most part, it is slowly fading, but like all forwards, I’m sure it will re-circulate with different words to see if resurrection is possible.

We can all fall for hoaxes once in a while. It happens. Don’t be hard on yourself if you did it. Learn from it and continue using your online profile to build relationships that open up to Gospel conversations.

As far as Elf Bowling…

I still miss Elf Bowling. Once it was deleted from our work and home computers in 1999, we all mourned the loss of the file. Between phone calls and projects, it built relationships between employees as we laughed together.

 

 

How the Church Needs Facebook’s New Update

The Church Communication’s Facebook group had a post that said, “So is anyone else freaking out about Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement about Facebook Pages yet or is it just me?” 

This was in response to Mark Zuckerberg posting here about a major update coming in a few months.

“One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent. We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.” Zuckerberg posted today (emphasis mine). “But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

In a recent workshop for pastors and ministry leaders held on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, hosted by Southwest Church Connection and led by me, two people shared the frustrations they have with their congregation. The efforts of creativity go unrewarded when they post on their Facebook page. One person shared how the congregation only reacts to the page posts. They never share or comment. Another said, people in their congregation are inspired by what they post, but never give credit to the church Facebook page. In other words, if a church inspires you to add to the conversation on your personal Facebook, help promote your church by tagging them in the post.  When Zuckerberg’s new update goes into effect, the church congregation will need to participate more in the church’s postings and online conversations in order to keep their church page from becoming irrelevant and keeping their budget down (pages and posts would need to be “boosted” to show up). Think of participating online as part of your stewardship and giving of your time. Is this an unfair decision from Zuckerberg?

Zuckerberg is absolutely correct in making this change. It’s a business decision, the radio reported earlier today, and very risky. He could lose advertising dollars, but the radio host is predicting that this decision will bring more signees to the already 2 billion people on this social media platform. It’s also an opportunity for the church to recognize their congregation as part of their marketing platform. When I say marketing, it’s a distasteful word, but when I say it, I mean it as marketing as ministry; or authentically connecting in meaningful ways using marketing techniques that work for business. It’s also important to note that this change backs what I have said many times to people–people don’t want to connect with a brand name; they want to connect with people. This is why a church should consider creating a social media team that they train on cross-cultural communication, story, evangelism, false cults and religions, and technology.

One person on the Church Communications Facebook group suggested a Facebook 101 class, but that’s not enough. I agree with one who said we shouldn’t share just Scripture all the time, but stories of our faith. I take this one step further; we should SHOW how we are living our faith through every day encounters, sharing our life with others we friend online through recipes, gatherings, online Bible Studies and life groups, etc. The face-to-face and online communities do not have to operate separately; it can operate together. After all, my philosophy is using technology and social media to bring people into meaningful conversations that lead to face-to-face encounters.

To partner financially in helping me mobilize the church body in social media, click here

 

Next Facebook Class for #Christians #SocialMedia

The next Facebook class will be on Saturday, July 22.

Here are some details:

  • Come at 10 a.m. sharp to get help to set up your first Facebook Account.
  • We’ll teach on communication, segmenting, and ministry from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • RSVP required. Because this is a FREE class, it is only open to Christians. I ask that you take some of my prayer cards and hand them out to your friends in exchange for this free class.
  • To RSVP, leave a comment, and I will connect with you.

Those who sign up for the free class are automatically added to two newsletter lists–one for my prayer updates and another to help you succeed in using social media to reach people online. 

Free Facebook Classes

This is for believers only with a caveat: You must take some brochures or prayer cards that day to give away to your friends and your church. The class is free and it is a part of a series of classes on Facebook covering many different subjects.

 

 

Come to a Living Room Session

 

Living Room Sessions are a place where you join me with your favorite mug of coffee here in a live video chat where I explain what I do with WorldVenture, latest developments, and answer your questions in a live video format. Sometimes, we’ll have a lot of people. Other times, it may just be one. We would like to invite you to our cozy living room and join with God what He is doing all around the world with technology.

  • I add you to the group via Facebook or email.
  • On that date and time, click on the live video.
  • Use the comment sections to chat with me as I tell you about what God has me doing.
  • Joining the group on Facebook is temporary. Video in most instances will remain on the group for 24 hours before it is taken down and you removed from the group.

Next Session: Sunday, February 12 @ 8 pm MST

RSVP: nikolehahn@thehahnhuntinglodge.com (include the email you use for Facebook).

 

An Opportunity to Join my Facebook Live Group

Tonight (Sunday, January 29) at 5 PM MST, I will be hosting a Facebook Live session on a group. You may join it by leaving a comment here. I’ll email you to verify your email that you use for Facebook, and add you to the live session.

We will be talking about my partnership with WorldVenture.

Hope to see you tonight!

Free Facebook Classes: Overflow Coffee House

Have you ever thought of social media as a short term missions project?

More often than not, I get a lot of questions about Facebook. So, in response to the questions, I have given you an opportunity to be trained for a new mission field with unlimited possibilities for learning, reaching people for Christ, and being a better Facebook poster.

The catch to the “free” is this: You must take some of my prayer cards and give them to your friends. They will be available at the class.

I can’t continue to fill this need without financial support. The need is overwhelming and we are behind those who have long ago recognized the internet as more than just a marketing tool.

DOWNLOAD HERE:

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