Prairie Portrait: Justin Wise of Monk DevelopmentMarch 29, 2012 by Michael Stacy
Name: Justin Wise
Bio: I’m an avid learner, introverted extrovert, seminary graduate and Communications Director at Monk Development. I live in Des Moines, Iowa with my wife, Kerry, and two children, Finnegan and Evie.
Title: Communications Director at Monk Development
Residence: Des Moines, Iowa
Intro music: “Shtml” by Yacht. A chaotic mix of structured digital blips and bleeps. That sounds about right.
Silicon Prairie News: What’s the transition been like for you going from digital director of one church to working for a MonkDev, which caters to all kinds of churches and ministries?
Justin Wise: On the surface, the two fields appear to have nothing in common. What does being a pastor in Christian ministry have to do with forming organizational web and social media strategies?
As it turns out, more than I thought. I began to see the power behind online community. What it meant when an organization effectively translated their mission online. It’s more than just updating Twitter and Facebook. It’s giving people a voice they didn’t know they had.
Ultimately I’m about people. Working in the church and now at MonkDev both deal with people. We want to see people succeed.
SPN: In what ways would churches, ministries and nonprofits be wise to approach social media similarly to their for-profit counterparts? In what ways should their approaches differ?
JW: When you look at utilizing social media within an organization, you have to look at the end results. What do you want to get out of your efforts? For-profits might say, “Increase brand awareness,” “increase profits,” or “decrease support calls.” Nonprofits would say, “Increase donor dollars,” “increase attendance,” or “increase in volunteers.”
The principles and strategy we teach can apply to any organization. We’ve worked with roofing companies, churches, kickboxing studios and large nonprofits. The end results differ from org to org, but the strategy for both types remains the same.
SPN: You’ve written an ebook, “The Top 10 Mistakes I Made in Social Media“. Without completely spoiling the ebook, can you provide the story of one big mistake you’ve made and what you learned from it?
JW: My favorite one to point out is when I made the mistake of using an auto-follow script on Twitter. What a disaster. My Twitter feed was so junked up with porn bot spam and random tweets from strangers, I almost considered deleting my account. Not only that, I did it twice! Sometimes you just have to learn things the hard way. Bottom line: opt for slow-growth on Twitter. Case closed!
SPN: You’re both a burgeoning chef and a well-documented lover of Des Moines. Time to blend those two passions like the good chef you are. What are your three favorite restaurants in central Iowa, and why?
JW: 1. Zombie Burger (Downtown): One word: Character. This is a place you have to take out-of-town guests to. The food’s good, but the atmosphere is better. A great addition to the city.
2. Cozy Cafe (Waukee): This one isn’t Des Moines proper, but it’s such a good find. My wife and I love getting breakfast here on lazy weekends, plus they serve great local coffee.
3. Django (Downtown): When you need to class it up a bit, Django is the place to go. A restaurant that gets the particulars right, from the iPad wine list, to the table water, to the food (of course).
SPN: As someone who has Twitter handles for both your young son and newborn daughter (a big congratulations on the latest, by the way), what are the keys to serving as the Twitter persona for someone who can’t actually tweet?
JW: Yes, both Finn (@FinneganWise) and Evie (@EvieWise) have their own Twitter account. I think for me the biggest draw to signing them up was purely selfish: I wanted to make sure no one else got their name. I’m a Twitter squatter, and I don’t care who knows it!
With Finn, after I locked down the name I thought, “Why not have a little fun with this?” It became a fun way to share some of the big moments in his life. You know, eating solid foods, getting sick, tweeting with his other little buddies. My wife got in on the act, too. After that, we were hooked.
I envision “handing over the keys” of my kids’ Twitter accounts when they’re old enough. Almost like when a 16-year-old gets to drive the family car for the first time. I don’t even know if Twitter will be around then, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Credits: Photo courtesy of Wise.
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