So off I went to face the dragon, to tame it and submit it to use for the gospel and our ministry.
My objectives on Facebook are two-fold and, admittedly, at times, difficult to reconcile, but so be it, considering our present situation: gain friends to support our ministry, and influence people toward deciding and living for Christ.
Here are 10 principles I’ve adhered to, albeit intuitively, as I work Facebook.
- Do no games. Aside from not wanting to get into these time-wasters, I figured they did not contribute to interaction and communication of the message.
- Add friends. Sounds obvious, but I hadn’t been on the watch for friends of friends. Now I try to check everyone out. First, I wanted to target men, since one of my ministry goals locally is to work with the men and leave the ladies to the sisters. But then I remembered that women read the most books and, thinking of my lonely poetry efforts, the most poetry. So now I’m indiscriminate in gender. But I do look for some connection to the church.
- Work groups and pages. Our ministry efforts are diverse, so we have several types of groups and pages. Richard Mansel works the Forthright Magazine group. I use the Forthright Press group as the main outlet for news about books, BrotherhoodNews.com and The Fellowship Room, among other things. We have groups for “Thirst for God,” “Church of Christ in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil,” “UPLift Poetry and Positive Thoughts” and “Church of Christ Authors.” The new page “Jesus Lord and Savior” is coming along nicely.
- Interact with people. Facebook is not for announcements but dialogue. We do the announcements, but the interaction, commenting on people’s status updates, adding tidbits of our life and pieces of wisdom are all essential. The key is getting to know people and letting them getting to know you.
- Set goals. I wanted to reach 600 friends by the end of February. I made it to around 620. This up from the mid-400s when I started. Now I’m reaching for 750 by the end of March and 1000 by the time I go to the U.S. in May. I could work more on goals for groups and pages.
- Integrate Twitter and Facebook. This was already done. When I post to Twitter, it goes automatically to Facebook. This was originally my way of killing two birds with one stone (is that an outdated phrase, or what?), when I seldom showed my face on Facebook. It needs further thought.
- Participate in others’ groups and pages. So I’m on church groups, sermon ideas groups, ministry groups, among others. Many groups have little or no activity, so one can really stand out here.
- Be positive. Facebook isn’t the best place for big discussions and arguments. Most of the friends there aren’t personal acquaintances, so it’s best to avoid heated topics.
- Be consistent. “Here today, gone tomorrow” doesn’t lend itself to developing online relationships and gaining trust.
- Try a little humor. I have to work at this one. My sense of humor, say my friends (I don’t want to hear what my enemies have to say!), is dry. That may be a kind way of saying I have none. But a light-hearted approach is honey for the bees. When the status update about your celebrity look-alike made the rounds, I posted … Mr. Bean. That was fun.
The main reason I’m working Facebook and making new friends there is to use it for the gospel and for sake of service to God.
Glory to God on Facebook, too!
Share or comment below!