john84601 wrote:My Stake Presidency needs to help understanding this better to be able to make a decision. They would appreciate my input (as the STS).
I think I would have done this same thing, asking the forum or the community. The community is a place for us to exchange ideas and even use cases of a solution like facebook in our church service. I don't think my answer to the Stake President, (if I was an STS) would be to talk to the Area Authority, as the STS I would give the information that I gathered and assumed I was part of a broader approach. Or I would counsel with my Stake Clerk and make sure that in the presidency meetings where it is likely discussed that if desired the Stake President could consider speaking to the Area Authority.
My own caution in this area is the exclusivity that often accompanies using a technology like Facebook, there are various reasons, economic, temptations, productivity, online safety and security which keep people from using something like Facebook. When members use it to communicate it, it can become THE place, which turns into exclusions from many because items are not announced anywhere else, those using the solution assume everyone does it like them.
Here is what I counseled when giving advice to our Stake President in a similar situation that came up from a Bishop.
Use of a blog or Facebook tends to create a subset of the group you are trying to communicate with. Even maintaining a separate email list from what is officially in MLS can cause issues. As an example, my wife's email which has been listed MLS for as long as it could be, was not in our most recent ward's Relief Society mailing list, because they maintained something else entirely and didn't even use the MLS data she was 'excluded' from many activities, or get-togethers because of these reasons. Did it hurt her feelings? A bit, did it cause here to lose her testimony, NO, but it might contribute to that process in someone else's life. If we want to use a technology for communication, we must make sure that everyone under our stewardship will receive the same information, whether we do that by old-fashioned letter or a phone call, etc...
I would say that at this point, a creative use of the calendar and the beta newsletter would get us nearly everything we need. These items could be improved greatly, but even then, a plan should be in place if it is being used for communication.
I loved previously that someone had a Ward Communications specialist.... how fantastic....