Gracefully and compassionately responding to trolls and critics was a part of the panel discussion, "Culturally Relevant Church" at Oral Roberts University's inaugural 2019 Media Summit. "Hug your haters," said Dr. David Burkus, associate professor of leadership and innovation. "You can delete comments from trolls, but people watch how you respond to legitimate criticism."
Creating a policy at the beginning outlining your response to critics is an integral part of your social media strategy. Burkus advises creating a community of "super-users" who champion your ministry or church and enlisting their support in responding to critical posts. "I've heard people say that they didn't think anyone would respond [to a critical post.] Of course there is a difference between someone who is abusive online and critical."
Students who complain on ORU's social media sites may have a meeting with the director of University Relations. "When a student complains about things, we meet with them," Stephanie Hill, director of University Relations and Communications said. "We usually get them to take down their post."
Hill added, "We stay very engaged and we respond to our audience. We don't respond to every post, but we look at how many followers they have." Professor Christopher Holt said the younger generation [in the church] is the bridge and to "value their opinions."
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