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The Internet in general, and Facebook in particular, offers the greatest communication opportunity since the printing press. Nothing in the last 400 years compares. Let’s think about how to use it wisely. More specifically, let’s think about what NOT to do. I’ll bet you can think of some no-no’s of your own. Include them in the comments below. I’d be curious about your thoughts.
No-no #1: Thinking of Facebook as a broadcast medium
The question is not now many hits or view or likes your content got. The question is: how many of your people did you check in on?
I learned this lesson from a pastor in Dallas. He had seen a rapid turn-around in his church and he credited it to two things: 1) the Holy Spirit, and 2) Facebook. I asked him about the key to using Facebook effectively. He said something like this, “I check in on people constantly. I comment appropriately. I am not creepy; just interested. I make appropriate, thoughtful, encouraging comments. Sometimes, it is just a like or a thumbs up. When I see them on Sunday, I ask about their lives based on what I saw on Facebook. When visitors visit, I immediately connect with them on Facebook. Facebook makes me a better pastor.”
Take away: check on every group member every week.
No-no #2: Using Facebook to advance your political agenda
I don’t know about you, but I have some opinions about politics and I can get pretty fired up. I watch a lot of great news videos on YouTube that I believe the world needs to see. Yet what I have realized is that I can influence people around politics or influence them toward Jesus, but I likely can’t do both. I choose to influence toward Jesus. Our world is so divided that if people come to see me as someone on the opposite end of the political spectrum, they likely won’t listen to anything I have to say.
This is not, for me a hard and fast rule. I am not sure that it is wise for Christians to retreat altogether from the political arena. Jesus said something about being salt and light. Still, I try to tread carefully.
Take away: keep politics to a minimum.
No-no #3: being negative
Proverbs 15.2 (NIV) says: “The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge.”
The original Living Bible paraphrased it this way: “A wise teacher makes learning a joy.” I think of this every time I teach, and I think of it every time I post on Facebook. The Facebook Paraphrase of Philippians 4.8 is…
Whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
POST THOSE THINGS!
There is enough bad news in the world. I want to be positive, upbeat, winsome, interesting.
And the interesting thing is this. By any measure, you could argue that the world is getting better – we live longer. We live healthier. We are better educated. There are fewer desperately hungry people in the world. Crime is down. Deaths by war are down. By every measure, the world is getting better and better. But, someone, somewhere did something bad today. And someone will capture it on video. And some news outlet will broadcast it around the world. The motto of the news industry is, “If it bleeds it leads.” And a thousand people will share it on Facebook. I am not going to be one of them.
One more verse: Titus 2:10 (NIV) “in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.” That is what I want to do on Facebook and everywhere.
Take away: be positive and winsome. Make the gospel attractive.
What ideas do you have? What no-no’s do we need to avoid?