Disclaimer: Influence is hard to come by. On the flip side, it’s super easy to lose influence. I do my best to meet and engage with as many people as I can in my community. I hope to influence as many people as I can in this life for the next life. Often (if all goes well), I am soon their friend on Facebook, follower on Twitter, or some other form of social media. I do my best to use these outlets to be salt and light on their timeline, news feed, etc. I know I’m not alone. Many pastors are using Facebook and Twitter to engage their communities. I do have a bone to pick though. I’m afraid many of us (Christians, pastors, leaders, etc) forget how to be salt and light online. Instead, we use our platform to spread rumors about the opposing political party, share ill-timed photos of Presidents we didn’t vote for, and let everyone know our views on guns, government and who’s at fault. I know; it’s your profile. You can do what you want with it, but do you really think you are influencing anyone? I have never met someone who changed political parties because of a meme (if you don’t know what that is, you may be hopeless). When we use our platform in this way, we decrease our influence until only people who agree with us follow/friend us. I have friends online that are Democrats, Republicans and everything in between. My goal is not to change their party, but their heart. The gospel is already a stumbling block, don’t add more stumbling blocks. So here are 3 easy ways to lose your influence online:
1. Post something you haven’t researched
I know. That meme, article or link seems legit, but have you thoroughly checked it out? Are you sure that this article you’re about to post proves that Charles Darwin worshipped Satan and is actually related to Nanci Pelosi? Snopes is a great resource for getting background info and the down low on articles, rumors and photos. People don’t have time to follow someone who isn’t trustworthy. Treat a post, link, or meme like it’s coming from your lips… because it kind of is.
2. Only post links from one site
If all you can do is regurgitate links from your favorite cable news network, why would we need to follow you? We could just follow that network and eliminate your mug on the side of every post. On the other hand some guys consistently post links to their blog or content (uh-oh, ministry dudes does this). I’m glad you care about your blog, but if I get 12 invites every week to follow your blog, I’m probably going to pass. I enjoy following guys that link to several sites. If you keep sending me to articles by one pastor, blogger, or critic, I am going to assume he’s paying you to do it or you have a weird man crush. Seriously, quit that.
3. Only post about one topic
Be balanced in what you post. We all get tired of seeing the same posts about politics, sports, and cat photos from the same people every time. If you keep talking about the same thing, people will assume that’s all you care about (apparently sports>Jesus according to many pastors timelines). Facebook shouldn’t be a place for us to turn people off with hot-button issues. However, for many Christians, that’s all they use Facebook for. Could I make a recommendation? Why not use your timeline to encourage, not argue. Keep a timeline that you could use to invite someone to church no matter their political party, sports team, age, race, gender… you get it. My point is simple, too often we allow our social life to mirror our christian bubble style life in reality. I hope you have followers, friends and users who disagree politically, socially and religiously with you. I hope you use your influence to do more than prove a point. I pray we can use our influence to draw people to Christ. Now, go ahead and criticize this article as “too politically correct” and thus prove my point. Thanks.
Article Written By: Marc Neppl firstname.lastname@example.org