I like to live on the cutting edge of technology. I’m (by every estimate) an early adopter. I had the iPhone when it still cost $400 with a two-year agreement. (there’s a fun post I’ve tried to write without sounding bitter–the one about people judging missionaries for having nice things. It’s still a rough draft, and will probably never make it out of the gate, because I can’t make it funny. Just arrogant-sounding and bitter. Sometimes this blog is more therapy than entertainment…)
One of the perks with combining early adoption with New Year’s Resolutionism (new word, just made it up.) is the fact that I have a ton of experience with today’s topic:
Missionaries who set up a facebook page and then never update it.
It is not just facebook pages, though. It’s everything technological. Blogs, twitter accounts, facebook groups, email lists… the list goes on and on. We missionaries are prolific when it comes to signing up for new technology and then promptly not using said technology.
I once resolved to go through and put all of my facebook “friends” into groups so that I could filter through and contact the ones who I wanted to challenge to join our support team. I’m not even exaggerating when I say that I only got to the “C’s” alphabetically.
If there is a way to sort-of use a piece of technology, I have discovered it. I have half-read devotional books on my Kindle app, I have emails sitting in my “drafts” folder that are seriously over 2 years old (full disclosure: after I left vocational ministry, I deleted those drafts… but they were there for 2.5 years before that.) I’ve signed up for no less than 4 free “in the cloud” computing services for the purposes of support raising, and I only currently know the password for dropbox (fantastic piece of software, that one)
This week alone I have been invited to join three different people’s facebook page for their ministry, so to them I offer these three lessons I’ve learned:
Take your camera with you.
See that “photos” tab over there? It works best with photos in it. So take your camera with you when you leave. A cell phone camera will do. Then there’s just the remembering to use the camera. The people that come to your facebook page want to see photographic evidence that you actually have been doing ministry. In my case, I give evidence that I have a wife (but no discernible evidence of my two children) in my facebook page profile. Do as I say, not as I have done. Because doing as I have done would just turn you into a guy who blogs about the ministry he used to work for.
Pick a schedule, and stick with it.
Some people use the “I can’t spend 30 hours a week on facebook” excuse to not spend 15 minutes per week on facebook. And let’s be honest, campus ministers: if you aren’t spending 20 hours a week on facebook or some other social network, you aren’t doing your job. But the reality is that when people “like” your fan page on facebook, they are totally cool with you actually updating that fan page. And unlike what I did, you should pick a schedule. Even if it’s just once per week, a schedule is your friend. Resolve to update your fan page with a ministry story or photo each Monday morning. I went for the “update my facebook page three times, and then pretend I don’t know what you are talking about when you mention it” method. Which is perfect, if you plan on working at Starbucks.
Grainy, unprofessional, and OK.
I am a creative guy. And I appreciate well-done creativity. I want all of my videos to look like Rhett and Link were the executive producers. So, you’ll notice the total lack of videos on my facebook page. I opted for not uploading any videos, because I didn’t want to upload bad quality videos. People don’t actually want the polished stuff anymore, these days. They want to hear about what God is doing in your ministry. So tell them. And a video taken from your cell phone in a noisy room is better than nothing, as long as it effectively tells a story. My facebook page was totally devoid of stories. And pretty vacant, as a result.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it was God who called us away from vocational ministry. I just like a good laugh at the expense of my pitiful attempts at a facebook pages.
Do you have a blog, facebook page, or twitter account for your ministry? Have you made any of the mistakes I did? Comment below!