My Turn to Talk: Why Ministries Have Social Media Backwards

TalkEveryone is just waiting for their turn to speak.

Let’s take it a step further… Everyone is really just waiting for their turn to be heard.

Myself included.

You scroll through your newsfeed on any social media platform and it’s quite clear that every person and every organization has a message to communicate. We clamor for likes, favorites, comments, replies, shares and retweets, as if they were some sort of validation currency that we were heard. I sat down for coffee with a friend who has quite a popular family blog. Naturally, the conversation turned to social media*. She and I agreed that even when people have engaged and responded with our posts, somehow it lacked the intimacy that makes you feel truly heard.

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*I can’t help it. It’s kind of my job.

Wanting to be truly heard…

That’s where I found myself lately. I’ve been listening. I’ve been doing it intently and whole-heartedly. And I’ve been blessed to hear, to be there, to listen. Quite honestly, I love being a sounding board to lots of people in my life. Sometimes an ear is all I can offer. But I’ve been in need of a nonjudgmental ear enough times to know the value of one!

Tonight, I had a long phone conversation with one of my best friends, Marcia. She was involved in a horrible accident last month and she has a long road of healing ahead. We’ve had some really amazing conversations in the course of our friendship, and the depth of meaningful conversations has only increased recently. We check in daily. I love hearing her progress updates. We wrestle through the challenges she’s facing. It’s a journey. And I’m grateful to be close enough to see God working.

I’ve had a handful of topics that have been bubbling under the surface for me… During our call, I timidly brought up the first topic. She heard me out and reflected my joy back. A few minutes later, I brought up the next uncertainty I am facing. She supported me, as usual. The last topic was the closest to my heart. As I unfolded it and shared my short-coming, her response was as if she held up a mirror and reminded me of who I am because God made me that way and then she said she’d pray for the exact need I’d thought of but hadn’t said out loud.

I had been truly heard. I knew it. My soul felt renewed.

And when I hung up the phone and went about my evening, it struck me that maybe as Christian organizations in social media, we’re going about this social media thing all wrong. We’re trying so desperately to have our message heard {Come to this event; give to this need; celebrate this victory!} by the people we’re trying to reach. Our voice is lost in a cacophony of other people and organizations clamoring for their likes and shares.

Shut up and listen

In the social media marketing world, we talk about how important it is to create great content to share our message with people. We try to get our messages out there in a flashy way that will leave an impression on people about us. But I think we’ve got it backwards and we need to experiment with a new model.

Jesus was highly relational. He asked a ton of questions. Some responses were recorded. I suspect others were not. He requests the opinions of others. Think about that. GOD in the flesh asks for the opinions of other people!

Care about people. Hear them out. Ask them questions, then truly listen. Reflect When they feel heard and valued, then they’ll be primed to receive your message.

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