Category: Social Media (page 3 of 10)

Insulting promises

image via RadioManKC

I’ve seen this a lot on people’s blogs, and frankly it bothers me.

Sorry, life has been busy and I haven’t had time to blog…

And then it’s often followed up with a promise

I’m going to be blogging every day for the next 289 days, that’s my commitment to you!

And then, 12 days later, I read yet another apology on their blog.

I’m not going to start with an excuse like that.  Because when I start with ‘Sorry…it’s been a busy season…’ I insult just about every reader of my blog. Because what I’m saying is, “I’m much busier than you. Because I assume you are checking my blog every day and are shaking your fists at me, foiled once again because you were hoping I’d write another post to fill up your day because you have nothing else to do.  You lazy sloth.  Get a job.”

Ok, so maybe I’m not actually saying all of that…

I’m not going to use those excuses, because you don’t care if I’m busy.  You don’t care how long it’s been since I’ve blogged.  You just want me to write.

And this mindset and subsequent offense happens all of the time in life. Not just on blogs. Check this out.  Maybe you’ve said something like this.

Common insulting excuses

  • Sorry I’ve been slow to respond to your email. Life has been busy.
  • Sorry we haven’t been able to meet. I’ve been really busy.
  • Sorry that I haven’t finished that project yet. I’ve been swamped.
  • I know I told you I’d help you out. I’ve been extraordinarily busy. Sorry.

Likely I’m not any busier than you are.  We’ve all got 24 hours in a day.  And we all make time for things that we value.

When I lead with, “Sorry, I’m busy…” I presume that you’re not also busy.  I presume that my time is more important than yours.   That I’m more important than you, and that your time with your job, your family, your church, and your hobbies isn’t also important.

So I’m going to quit apologizing and just start doing the work.  No promises or apologies or excuses.  Just creating art and forward momentum.

Instead of wasting the time it takes to fill you in on why I haven’t lived up to expectations, I’ll just start living up to expectations.

Question: Am I the only one with a busy schedule?

 

 

 

Quit sharing

Retweeting to get a Retweet in return may be the most base form of fake generosity that social media has spiraled into.

image via PLR Internet Marketing

(if you’re not sure what a Retweet is, get a crash course on verbiage I wrote HERE)

Here’s what happens.  You notice that I have quite a few followers.  You want my followers to like you and follow you and read your blog. So you read my blog post, retweet what I said about it, and sit and wait.  Just hoping that I’ll return the digital favor.

Stop it!

Twisted Generosity

Generosity gives, expecting nothing in return.  True generosity doesn’t scratch your back so you’ll scratch mine.  And when you give expecting a retweet, you rip the generosity right out of the gift.

And you give expecting the return gesture, you completely miss the point of sharing.  The point of sharing is not to bless the writer of the post.   It’s to bless YOUR followers.  The ones who look to you saying, “What new stuff have you found lately?”

Imagine this crazy scenario.  I give you a nice new gift.  Let’s say I give you a new iPad.  But the whole time, I’m looking over my shoulder, wondering if Apple is going to reward me for purchasing an iPad.  And you’re left wondering, “Did he just use me?”

I like what Dale Carnegie says in How to Win Friends and Influence People:

Let’s cease thinking of our accomplishments, our wants. Let’s try to figure out the other person’s good points. Then forget flattery. Give honest, sincere appreciation. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise,” and people will cherish your words and treasure them and repeat them over a lifetime—repeat them years after you have forgotten them.

Instead of looking at social sharing as a way of gaining followers, look at it as a way of blessing those who have chosen to follow you.  Of sharing with the world what you’re learning, who’s influencing you, and what’s shaking your world.  The more generous you can be, the more people will cherish your words and treasure them.  But leave a hint of personal gain in your generosity and your followers will sniff you out.

I’m pursuing a more generous social media.

Will you join me?

 

Don’t be anonymous

The more and more I’m active in social media, the more and more anonymous commenters I seem to attract.

Image via Guardian

 

And at one level, I get it. Anonymous comments are a chance to share what you really think, without the ramifications of having to deal relationally by asking hard questions, making pointed statements, and pushing someone in a way you wouldn’t normally do in person. I get it. But if you’re going to make some strong statements, don’t hide behind a false name. Be real.  Give the person you’re attacking the chance to talk to a real person…not just a fake name.

Here’s the principle behind what I’m saying:

If you believe in what you’re saying, sign your name to it.

This principle holds true with many things in life.

If you’ve got a good idea, and you believe in it, sign your name to it. If you don’t believe in it, why promote it?

If you’ve got a new policy, and you believe it’s worth implementing, sign your name to it. Stand behind it. If you’re not willing to stand behind it, and deal with the questions and complaints, why implement it?

If you’re ready to hire a new person, and you believe they’re the right person for the job, stand behind them. Let everyone know you believe in this person. If you don’t believe in them, don’t hire them.

If you’re leading your organization in a new direction, stand behind the decision. There may be bumps along the way, but if you believe this is the direction you should go, then show everyone you believe in it.

Anonymous people rarely get anything done.  It’s when you are willing to sign your name to what you believe that the ball can begin moving forward.

We don’t need more anonymity.  We need leaders.

Question: Have you ever gotten anonymous comments on something you’ve done?

 

 

What I’ve learned in 3 years of blogging

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been blogging for 3 years now. I’ve loved interacting with you guys, building this community of people, and processing my thoughts out loud. Thanks for giving me grace to think and grow all along the way.

I’ve learned lots of lessons over the past 3 years. Many I’ve had to learn the hard way.  Hopefully I can save you some frustrations.

Lessons I’ve learned in 3 years of blogging.

1. The more honest, the better.

People will connect with you more over your honesty and transparency than they ever will over your victories and moral platitudes.  My posts that have gotten the most positive feedback have been the ones where I’m gut-level honest with my thoughts and experiences.

2. The more accessible, the better.

As I make myself accessible (here, on the blog, through comments), I find people appreciate that. To build community, you’ve got to build relationships.

3. Be generous.

The more ideas I share, resources I recommend, connections I make, and in general, the more I can give away, the more I always get in return.

4. It’s as much about ‘rhythm’ as it is ‘discipline.’

I hear lots of guys say that blogging is a discipline. And I get that. But I like to look at blogging and see where it fits in the rhythm of my life. Rather than ‘disciplining’ myself, I’d rather it be a flow of my life.  I’ve found more joy and inspiration having a blogging rhythm than having a blogging discipline.

5. Put in the work now and you can reap the benefits later.

I can look back and snag some great, well thought out ideas. Someday, I just might write a book. You know where I’ll turn first for my good ideas? The archives.  And it’s because I have put lots of work into so many posts.

6. Just publish.

Some days, my thoughts aren’t fully developed or perfect or polished. But I just have to “publish” anyway.  It’s better to float ideas and thoughts out there, and synthesize them as you go, than to every single thought fully planned out before completion.

7. I enjoy writing.

I really do.  I’ve found it a great avenue to flesh out my thoughts.

8. It’s about quality posts more than ‘technique’.

I’ve read articles on blogging technique, SEO, key words, timing, consistency, and focus.  And while those things are important, don’t forget to write quality posts!  If you write good stuff, Google will find you.

9. Mixing up the type of posts I write (video posts, social media, theology, etc.) is as helpful for me as it is enjoyable for readers.

Writing the same kinds of posts every day gets boring.  So I mix up the categories, the style, and the focus to keep things fresh, both for the readers and for my own creativity.

10. I have no idea what it really takes to write a post that’s going to take off.

I have written about this before HERE…and it’s still true.  The posts I feel will take off…fall flat.  The ones I write on a whim go viral.  I default back to #8 and #9 (above)

11. I’m not done.

And neither is blogging.  Blogging is a great tool, and our culture is continuing to turn to blogs for information, ideas, and insights.  I’m definitely not done.

If you’ve read my blog at any point over the past 3 years…thanks.  Keep sharing your thoughts, experiences, and insights.  Keep leading well, changing, and growing.

I hope I’ve helped you on your journey in some small way.

 

 

 

 

How to virally spread your idea

According to Strengths Finder, I’m a “Learner.”  Which means that I thrive in an environment where I get to learn and grow.

In fact, sometimes the process of learning is more exciting to me than the outcome.  Weird, I know.  Don’t judge me.

A few years back, I stepped into the role of small groups pastor at Grace Community Church.  I had never been a small groups pastor before.  I knew little to nothing about small groups.  My past experience had been primarily with Sunday School.  And my work in ministry had been primarily with people younger than me.  I was in over my head.

But the prospect of learning a new skill, a new philosophy, gave me great energy.  Maybe my process of learning, growing, and sharing can help you with your idea.

I get much more done through collaboration than working on my own.  Here’s how I do it:

Build communities–>compile ideas–>implement locally–>compile ideas–>build communities

Build communities. Reach far and wide.  Even outside of your normal circle.  Talk with people in unrelated fields.   At some level, innovation is innovation. And there’s something you can learn from Coca Cola, even if you’re in the business of selling cars.  Skip this step and you’ll box yourself in to small ideas.

Compile ideas with a smaller group. This is industry-specific. Find the leading thought generators in your industry, and start picking their brain. Learn from them. Try to understand why they do what they do. What successes are they having?   What failures have they experienced?  These people may not be implementing concepts exactly like you would…mainly because only you are in your context.  Skip this step and you’ll miss the learning from industry leaders.

Implement locally with your team. Take the ideas, principles, stories, and innovations from the entire funnel and begin integrating them into your organizational structure.  This is where the hard work begins, in my opinion. It’s no longer about just generating ideas, and operating in the clouds of thought. This is where the rubber meets the road. And if you do the hard work necessary at this level, real change begins to happen.  Skip this step and you’ll have no credibility in your industry…and you’ll have done no real work.

Compile ideas. As you implement locally, you have something to offer to others in your field.  Continue to grow, expand, and effect change.  Others within your line of work, who are trying to do what you’re doing but are having a tough time getting results like you are, will take notice.  A word of advice at this level: share generously. Give away your knowledge, your stories, and your secrets.  The new wave of marketing, sales, and online social media is built on being generous with information and insights…not with hoarding that information.  You’ll get your payback, but it may not come in traditional forms. As you share with others in your field, you may gain coveted networking opportunities or even become a leader in your industry.  Other highly touted workers in the field may begin seeking you out as a place of employment.  Tangible results?  You bet.  Immediate?  Not a chance.  Skip this step and others in your industry who need your innovation will never see it.

Build communities. As you’ve implemented your strategy at the local and industry level, others outside of your industry will begin to take notice. Because, remember, innovation is innovation. Your strategy will likely work across multiple platforms. But you’ll never make it to this stage if you haven’t generously given of yourself and your time throughout the other stages.  We need your idea. But if you don’t work to build communities, networking even with people not like you, we’re never going to hear it.  Skip this step and your ideas and principles never leave your industry.

This is how I grew from knowing nothing about an industry (small groups) to sharing ideas globally.

Is your idea worth spreading virally?

If not, find a new idea.

Have you experienced influence at the “compiling ideas” level?  How about at the “Broad community” level?

Do you desire to share ideas globally?

 

The blog vs the book

Writing a blog may be more effective than writing a book.

I’m not convinced of this.  But here’s one thing I know.

When I’m doing initial research for a project, I don’t first ask Dewey Decimal.  I used to.  But the game has changed.

I’ve replaced Dewey Decimal with a little tool you may have heard of: Google.  And if you tell me you haven’t, I’ll tell you you’re a liar.

A Google search for a topic may lead you to a book.  But if it does, you’ll probably skip right over that to click on the link that lands you on an article you can read immediately.  And the way that search engine optimization (SEO) works, a single blog post is forever searchable.

When it comes to most of our information gathering, our culture values speed and timeliness over exhaustiveness.

Publishing isn’t dead

Books and publishers still serve our culture well.  They help sift ideas and package them in a way that helps a broad audience.  They put flesh to content that single blog posts just can’t do.  They have often spent years building trust through their platform (by publishing reputable, helpful resources), and use this as a launching pad for current and future titles.  But the publishing industry’s strengths lead them to be a slow-moving machine that’s not capable of moving as quickly as a blogger.

The days of books aren’t over.  But the days of books being the primary starting point for research is done.

Moving your idea forward

So if you want to get your idea out, start a blog.  Don’t wait for a publisher to pick you up.  If you wait for a publisher, your culture-shifting idea may take years to get into people’s hands.  Most books take years to move from initial idea to gathering dust on a shelf.

I just talked with a guy in London who had found my blog helpful in dealing with a delicate small group issue he faced in his local church.  Could he have found the answer to his questions and concerns in a book?  Certainly.  But Google is much more accessible, when problems arise, than your local library.

Write a blog post, and your content is at the fingertips of people who need it most.  In fact, consider guest-posting right here on my blog.  I’d love to feature you!  Details HERE.

I may write a book someday.  But in the meantime, I’ll keep fleshing my thoughts out quickly and efficiently right here on the blog.

Ever considered starting a blog?

What’s keeping you from posting more often?

 

 

A blogging limerick

The perspiration of writing

Some days I just don’t feel like writing

I think and I type, nothing’s flying

But press on I must

One more line or bust!

Inspiration, please find noggin’

Anybody else resonate?

 

Twitter Spam

Image from BusinessGrow.com

I was followed by a gardening site right after I tweeted about my own garden recently.

Lame?

Maybe not.

The reason I am quick to say that it may not be spam is because they simply followed me.  Didn’t send me a direct message promoting their site, or pushing me to their Facebook account.  They just subtly let me know that they’re out there.  No in-my-face marketing.  And you know what, when I need help, I’ll likely refer back to their site.

Drive-by spammer?

I saw this acted out in real life while driving through my neighborhood.

I saw a professional landscaper stop and help a couple that was trying to get their tiller started.  Apparently they were having a tough time, and this guy knew what he was doing.  He was being generous.  Not to get business.  Not so he could drop off his business card, and subtly drop hints that he was the best landscaper in town.  But just because he had a bit of expertise and a few minutes to help this older couple figure their tiller out.

Social media is the same way.  You’ve got an expertise.  Maybe you’re a landscaper.  Maybe you’re a mom.  Maybe you’re a theologian or a comedian or a runner.  You’ve got some expertise in something.

That’s your angle.

Use that as your platform.  Give away your knowledge, stories, insights, failures, and successes.  Because somebody else wants to know what you know.  Your words will be priceless to them.

And in their time of need, you know where they’ll turn first?

Google.

And when they turn to Google, they’ll find you. You’ll be that guy that drove by at exactly the right time.

So tweet, blog, facebook, and share with the world your expertise.

We need you.

When you begin to see social media (and life as a whole) as a way to be generous with your gifts, passions, and expertise, we all benefit.  You included.

 

 

Quit trying to be funny

Want a snapshot into my thought process?  Here you go.

image by Beaty Bass

Me: I could write a blog off of this thought:

If you’re not funny, don’t try to be.

Because I read something the other day where someone was trying to be funny, and they weren’t.  It was painful.

My brain: But you write things that you think are funny.  And they’re not.  So they’re painful.

Me: Ouch.

My brain: Don’t judge people on a funniness scale.

Me: I don’t mean to jud…

My brain: And who made you the funny judge, anyway?

Me:

My brain: And isn’t “funny” subjective?  What’s funny to you may not be funny to everyone.

Me: Well, ok.  But some things just aren’t funny. Case-in-point: well, um…I can’t think of one right now.  But you know what I mean.

My brain: You mean that there are some things that just aren’t universally funny.  Right?

Me: Yeah.

My brain: There you go again.  Judging “funny” purely by what you find “funny.”

Me: But why would someone write something intending to be funny, when they’re not?

My brain: Hey, you don’t have to read their stuff…

Me: I guess not, but…

My brain: No, you don’t.  Just quit reading.

Me: I guess you’re right.  Nobody is forcing me to read.  That would be weird if they did.

My brain: Don’t you write from your own experiences?

Me: Yes.

My brain: And aren’t your experiences sometimes funny to you?

Me: Yes.

My brain: Boom!  Then you just contradicted yourself.  You’re funny to you, but not to everyone.  Isn’t this what you’re frustrated with other writers about?

Me: I suppose…

My brain: And are you forcing anyone to read your stuff?

Me: I sure hope not.

My brain: What kind of an answer is that?  It’s either a “yes” or a “no.”

Me: I guess that realizing there are countless voices out there, and that those non-funny funny guys can have their voice, too, is good.

My brain: Finally.  You get it.  It doesn’t matter.  They’re funny to someone.

Me: Be who you are, and let others be who they are. Hey, I think I’ll Twitter that.  Wait, no.  I’m having an important internal dialogue right now.  Stick with it.

My brain: What just happened right there?

Me: Sorry.  …But can’t I be a little critical?  Bust on people a little when they’re not funny?

My brain: Nope.  Again…you’re not that funny to most people.

Me: Ok, ok…I get it.  I’m not funny either.  Will you lighten up already?

My brain: You need to lighten up.  Give people the freedom to express themselves however they want.

Me: Fair enough.

See what I have to deal with?  Here’s my own takeaway from my own thought process:

I’ll let you be you.

In fact, let me take that one step further.

Please, please…you be you.

We need you.  Your brand of humor.  Your style of relating.  Your way of leading.  Your ideas, passions, giftings, and set of failures.  Your training, your taste, and your family dynamics.
Don’t be me.  I won’t be you.

And, I promise…I won’t judge you for being you.

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. (Romans 12:4-6)

 

 

5 ways to create trust online

For any leader, creating trust is essential.

Merriam-Webster.com defines “trust” as “reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something : one in which confidence is placed.”  So creating that trust in relationships formed is crucial for the growth of the organization that you lead.  And when it comes to social media, trust is absolutely crucial.  Since you’re one voice among millions, you get one shot with potential followers.  One eye-grabbing tweet.  One game-changing blog post.  And if you don’t capture people there, you’ve likely lost them forever.  Hate it if you want, but that’s the game.

Without trust, people won’t follow you.  Well…they’ll follow you for a little while.  But positional leadership will only get you so far.  With trust, you can develop healthy, robust communities.

5 ways to create trust online

  1. Consistency – I’ve given up on trying to figure out which posts are going to do well and which aren’t.  I’ve resorted to this: post consistently.  I’m bound to strike a nerve with someone at some point.
  2. Quality – Add value, create discussion, spark interest, share an idea, encourage change, or share your story.  If it’s anything less, then why post?
  3. Honesty – people are looking for transparency and relate-ability…not just someone who has got it all together.  Don’t just tweet the good things…tweet the bad ideas, the failed initiatives, and ways you’ve struggled.
  4. Generosity – it’s not just all about you, promoting your stuff, making a name for yourself.  It’s also not just about giving products away.  Give away ideas, encouragement, and insights.
  5. Uniqueness – if you start something new, then you are, by nature, unique in that area.  If you’re jumping into an existing area, let your platform set you apart from the rest of the pack.  Your story’s not the same, your passions aren’t the same, your job’s not the same, and your family’s not the same.  Don’t try to be me, and I won’t try to be you.

Trust is essential in building any relationship.  Social media is no different.

What am I missing?  How do you build trust?  Jump in the conversation HERE!

 
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