Church members are encouraged to use their REALM account to stay connected during these times of isolation. You may access REALM through a web browser at onrealm.org (add to your bookmarks for easy access) or through the App on your phone (download through the App Store or Google Play Store — “Connect – Our Church Community). Not on REALM yet? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your preferred email address to get set up.
Did you know you can use chat or email within your groups? Members of Sunday School classes or other groups can contact each other without necessarily knowing each other’s personal information. This is helpful when you may not have all your fellow member’s current contact information. It also helps people know who is contacting them because your information labels you. If you have ever been in a group chat and not recognized half the numbers in there, then you realize that can be an issue. So what can you do?
Upload your photo on your profile. Make sure information is correct.
Adding a profile picture lets people know who they are talking to and puts a face to the name. To do this, go to the top right corner of REALM where your name is and pull down to “My Profile.” It will open your profile page. Right beside your name is a circle, just click the pencil icon to edit. Follow the directions onscreen for how to add your photo. While you are on this page, look it over and be sure your email, phone numbers, and other info is correct. You can edit your information by click the button “Edit Profile” (on app, click pencil icon by each item).
Update your privacy settings.
Your settings determine who is able to see your personal information. We recommend “People in my groups” to allow those in your personal groups to communicate and connect. To do this, go to the top right corner of REALM where your name is and pull down to “Manage Privacy” (on profile screen for app – click pencil icon to edit). Select who can see your information. You may also customize so that different information has different levels of privacy
When to chat or make a news post?
A lot depends on the message you want to send.
Just to send something such as a prayer request, ask about a time, or give a friendly “hello,” use chat. As a general rule, chats happen at a faster pace and responses are quicker. They are usually brief. For most conversations between individuals, we are recommending people use the chat feature.
If it is a message to the whole group, a news post is the best tool. In REALM, you can post to the group’s newsfeed.
You can also look up a person’s individual email address on their profile, only if it is marked public. If they do not have their email listed, then you need to speak to that individual and ask for their address. The church cannot supply people’s personal email addresses without their permission. Emails do take time for people to open and read, so you may not get a response right away. However, these are usually more formal and have more details.
Select “Communications” in the left sidebar of REALM (or in your app menu) and click to expand the menu. You will see the categories: News, Inbox, Chat, and History. Select “Chat” and hit the plus button to create a new chat. (Hit the pencil/paper icon on the app.) You can chat a group or an individual. When you begin typing it should self-populate the name. Then just type your message and send like you would a text. Keep in mind, “Is this a message everybody needs to hear,” when sending a chat. For example, if you just want to send it to one person, just type in their name instead of messaging the entire group.
To Create a Post:
Select “Communications” on the left sidebar of REALM (or in your app menu) and click to expand the menu. You will see the categories: News, Inbox, Chat, and History. Select “News” and you’ll see three options: “Post” (pencil), “Photo” (camera), and “Event” (calendar) – for group leaders only. Click “Post” and create your message. Click “Photo” to upload a picture, for example from a class event. Groups members may like or comment on these posts much like social media platforms, and they are visible to everyone in the group. You will only be able to post to small groups that you are a part of.
How do you make sure you get your messages?
Go to the top right corner of REALM where your name is and pull down to “Notification Settings.” (In the app, select “Settings” from your menu.) You may choose what you want to receive for each of your different groups. Select a group, and choose if you want to be notified for “all contact and all replies” or just “new content only.” You may also set up a “Daily Digest” to receive an email of any new content across all your groups. On the app, you can also set up push notifications specific to your particular phone’s instructions. Choose “Settings” and “Push Notification Settings.”
REALM has a user guide on the site itself. You can click the question mark icon in the top right corner to open the help site. You may also contact Laurie Hall with questions.