Join the Party on Social Media
Having one or more accounts in social media doesn’t guarantee you’re automatically “social” in your online behavior. When you “step in the door” of your account, try mentally picturing yourself entering a real-life party (or other gathering) already in full swing.
Extroverts are wired to be social already and may see social media accounts as a great way to re-connect, possibly flitting from friend to friend, or maybe as a chance to share some good laughs and lighten the mood.
For my fellow introverts, I know some of you retreat as soon as you “walk in” because of the overwhelming amount of conversations. You signed up for Facebook or Twitter, but hesitate going back in. Others of you may be interested in connecting through social media, but you can’t see how you would ever have enough time to spend in discussions on LinkedIn, for example, so you’ve stayed out. And then there’s those of you who bravely enter into social media rooms, but only occasionally, because when you do go in, you’re sucked in for a long time and are unable to find a good way out. (This can especially happen on Pinterest.)
For either extroverts or introverts, try what I do to see if an introvert’s guide to joining the party on social media is a good way for you to cultivate ministry opportunities.
Here’s What This Introvert Recommends
When you step in the door, ask “who’s at the party?” You might greet someone near you, and then you scan the room for someone you want to go visit and head in their direction. Perhaps making a bee line to the sofa where financial partners are gathered or popping into the kitchen where your relatives hang out.
It would be very odd (if it were possible) to try to catch up with every single event and conversation that you missed as you join a party. It might be helpful to know the candles are already blown out and the presents are unwrapped, but most of your time in this party revolves around when you’re actually there. You may only talk with six to ten folks in one or two rooms.
The next day, you may hear that an out-of-town guest attended at a different time so you quickly send a message to connect.
Facebook and Twitter lists will also help you filter who you want to talk to (see NOTES). Using lists, you will be able to look at news only from relatives or from financial partners, for instance. (Check on these people more often.)
Does this make sense? Focus on particular people, fewer people, and more meaningful conversations; don’t try to interact with everyone. Also, when you arrived, would you loudly announce, “Ta-da, it’s me, everybody!” Limit those selfies and other posts that focus on you.
Who Do You Want to Meet?
As with anything on your schedule, social media should tie in to how you serve people and, ultimately, God. Would social media help you to:
- connect with people in order to present the gospel through a shared interest?
- be more in touch with financial partners, alerting them to ministry opportunities and prayer needs?
- disciple students, or others?
- brainstorm and learn from missionary staff in other organizations?
- re-connect with high school buddies or distant relatives?
More than one of these ideas may work for you. Don’t worry, you don’t have to “live” on all these accounts and post your daily details. Try connecting just ten minutes at the beginning and at the end of your day.
- Consider organizing your social friends in lists so you can check on certain people at specific times. (See how to organize friend lists on Facebook.)
- Try changing your audience selection to send a post only to a particular list. Just remember to change your audience back to “Public” for your next update.