Social Networking can be a fabulous tool for leaders to advance the kingdom. However like so many other things it can also lead us into dangerous territory if unexamined.
Below are some tips on how to use social networking well in our celebrity obsessed, image based culture without falling into the sin of pride. I have probably broken several at times, but hopefully they will be of help to you.
1) Avoid being a fame-vampire. Just because you had coffee with someone well known doesn’t mean that you have to tweet about it. We tend to do this because sub-consciously believe that if we broadcast the fact that we are associating with someone well known, that their fame/influence will rub off on us.
Would you be willing to tweet that you just met with a person who had no influence or social capital?
2) Don’t add to the Hubbub. We live in a culture of incredible distraction. Just because we can broadcast to thousands the first thought that comes into our head doesn’t mean that we have to. Just communicate the important stuff.
By refraining from the cacophony you just might give others space and silence. Is your broadcasting of the mundane robbing others of the silence they need to encounter God?
3) Real life Followers>Online followers.
4) Platform never beats spiritual authority. Lot of people talk about platform these days. Platform sells books, generates hits and followers and results in speaking requests. However platform doesn’t always equate with spiritual authority.
You can have a massive platform with little spiritual authority, and you can have significant spiritual authority and a terrible Klout score.
5) Promote resources not yourself. Beware the thin line between selling books, resources, events, Churches, others you wish to champion, ministries you believe in and selling yourself.
Do your social networking patterns push people towards resources that will build up their faiths, or are you allowing some of the glory to bounce off onto you?
6) Avoid humblebrags. Don’t ever use the hashtag #humbled. My friend Amy said to me the other day that if someone uses the hashtag #humbled there is a 90% chance they are bragging.
We know deep down that social networking naturally tilts towards self promotion, so we try and self promote whilst trying to be humble, check out the humblebrag feed on twitter to see why this approach doesn’t work.
7)Ask the dangerous question ‘why?’ Before posting always ask yourself ‘why am I posting this instagram pic/tweet/status update?’ Deeply search your heart for your true motivations. If you struggle with this find a social networking accountability buddy who will ask you the tough questions.
8) Take breaks. Take regular technology sabbaths. This is one of the best ways to ensure that you keep social networking as a tool rather than an idol.
9) Be Patient with God. God will advance your ministry if he so desires in His good time. Just because we live in a time where it is easy to push our own carts does not mean that we need to. Both the bible and history is littered with the tragic tales of people whose influence exceeded their spiritual development.
10) Track your time. Keep a track of how much time you are devoting to social networking. Not just in real minutes and hours but also in mental energy. Do you find yourself thinking about what you could say online when you are even off line? Are you robbing your family, friends and neighbours of your complete presence and attention? Sit down and plan how much time you wish to spend a week online and stick to it.