Even several months into the pandemic, some of us can abuse Facebook. After all, it’s not a communications tool like Flocknote, Constant Contact, or Mailchimp. It’s a social media platform, and as we hear in Oz, “…that’s a horse of a different color!” Its primary purpose is not to inform, but to engage. That’s why we should be doing virtual coffee and doughnuts.

If you’re still livestreaming Masses and other events, take a long, hard look at them. How often have you intentionally worked to spark a conversation on your parish’s Facebook page in the last few months? How much are you “talking with” people vs. “talking at” them? Do you treat Facebook more like a bulletin, or more like a virtual version of coffee and doughnuts?

With this perspective in mind, how about virtual coffee and doughnuts? The Catholic Social Media team has spotted a few parishes around the country that are doing just that. Once every week or few weeks, the pastor grabs a cup of coffee and his breakfast, flips on Facebook Live, says hello, and talks with people as they leave comments. It’s a virtual version of “ask me anything,” and its main purpose is to build community during a difficult time. When the livestream is over, the staff keeps it up for a few days and then deletes it. (After all, you wouldn’t record a normal coffee and doughnuts and loan out the DVD, right?)

This is just one example of leveraging Facebook for what it is – a social media platform. And if you’re already doing something similar, drop us a line and let us know how it’s going!