Getting Connected: Join the Conversation
By William Guice (MAGL '08)
Not long ago I twittered out an article that came through my Google Reader. My Twitter feed currently links to my Facebook status updates, so when I hit the send button on Twitter, I actually sent the article out not only to my Twitter followers (about 600 people), but also to the other 1,700 who are friends on Facebook.
This led to...
...Seeing the post reposted on other blogs
...Conversations on our church website
...Replies on Twitter
...Conversations on Facebook
...Conversations at our church's midweek meal
Conversation: That's one gift that is gained when we are involved in the social networks that most of our church members are using. Like it or not, our world has a new level of connectivity. There is a new pattern of information flow, and we as leaders are faced with a choice. We can learn to navigate and leverage this flow or we can shy away from it. Technology and connectivity need their limits, but there are many ways in which our social networking can be advantageous to us. Here are a few observations and suggestions on how and why you should be involved online.
1) A chance to know your community better. Many of us find our days consumed and with little time to check in with friends and communities. Social networking sites allow us to know what is going on with each other and how to pray for each other, and often enable us to gather for unplanned conversations.
2) Don't be afraid. Just like a normal relationship, you can give or take in as much or as little as you like. If you are uncomfortable with people knowing certain things about you, then don't post them. Whatever you do, just be you. Your online persona shouldn't be who you want to be but who you are.
3) You have a voice, let's hear it. God has placed you in your position for a reason. He has given you something to say--so say it. It doesn't have to be grand or profound. What God has given you to say will bounce around and be used if you'll just pass it along.
4) Don't preach. Join the conversation--don't monopolize it or preach. Social networking is a flow of conversation. Add to it. The quickest way to not be heard is to preach, rant, or be negative all of the time. And please remember that this also applies to personal interaction online. Don't say anything through your keyboard that you wouldn't say face to face.
You are still the voice of the Good News. Social networking just gives you a chance to keep up with, pray for, get to know better, and shepherd your community. So I suggest that you jump in and have fun.
Join me in the conversation at twitter.com/williamguice or at facebook.com/williamguice.