Social media gives the shy guy a chance to hang out with the cool girls. He becomes anyone with a random photo from someone else’s site, a little creative writing, and suddenly he has 500 to 1,000 friends. He knows three of them. Or you have 100-300 photos of you in many poses. You experiment with your femininity or masculinity. Your friend list grows, but you only know 50 of them. 100 of them are acquaintances from school or the social scene. The remaining people are strangers who sought your following or spammers who want a large following.
No profile is guaranteed true. Until you spend time with them, you don’t know them. They can’t hide that spastic tick they inherited from their parents if you see them every day. Their photo shopped images better match their real life images. Their likes and dislikes must match their personality. It is easy to lie online with millions of images available through Google to claim as your own and non-traceable accounts with bogus email addresses readily available. Self-love is addictive.
Christians have it difficult with online social networking. How do you shine the light of Christ through Facebook, Myspace, and the many other social networking sites? Do you do this by posting pictures of drinking binges? Do you do this by getting mad at a relative and posting something derogatory on your status? Regular people are still working to take it seriously even though much of the business world has taken advantage of its capabilities.
Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, says this about social networking, “I honestly don’t understand all the fuss about social media. It’s just one more way to communicate. Do you have a “phone policy”? An “email policy”? A “fax policy”? Technology is neither good nor bad. It’s what people do with it that is the issue. In my opinion, you want to encourage your people to engage in social media. Doing so puts a human face on your brand. It meets customers where they are congregating. It makes everyone an ambassador for your organization.”
The online world is a dangerous mine with dead ends, weak supports, and dark holes that go nowhere. Do you wish to become the light people gravitate towards? Do you wish to show an example of leadership to the online world? Do you wish to become a prayer warrior supporting lonely and hurting people? Or are you one of the dead ends, weak supports and dark holes? Social networking has become a must for branding, for business, and for ministry. It’s required in the writing world. It becomes your résumé. Jobs will or will not hire you based on your social networking profile. The key to social networking is balance. Without balance you fade into the dark and miss the key components to friendship: touch, effort, joy, respect and love. Don’t lose your capacity to relate to real people.