Authentic or Not? Part 7: Having a Social Media Agenda

no agendaSteve Fogg published a post yesterday titled 4 Surefire Ways To Wreak Havoc In Your Church Through Blogging & Social Media.  A couple of the ways cited to wreak havoc boil down to the notion that it’s a bad idea to use social media to selfishly promote our own agenda, even if our agenda is good and godly.

On the other hand, Chris Syme posted a comment on yesterday’s Take the Ultimate Church/Facebook Survey! post here saying:

“It’s not a good communications strategy to jump on Facebook because over 50% of the American public is there… Lay the groundwork of why do we want to be here and what are we trying to accomplish.”

That sounds to me like, “Don’t go into Facebook without a purpose or an agenda.”

So, should we have and promote our own agenda for social media or not?

Mission = Agenda

Every worthwhile church, non-profit, and business has a mission.  For that matter, every individual does (or should) as well.  Is it a responsible use of someone’s time just to hang out on Facebook or Twitter just to hang out?

I don’t think so.

How we use social media should be in alignment with our goals and values.

In fact, I would go so far as to say if you aren’t doing social media with an agenda, you’re not only doing a disservice to yourself but to those who you connect with.  That’s because without an agenda, your content is going to be unfocused and less valuable.

The problem comes…

… when we begin to see people as a means to an end, when we become so focused on our goals that we forget that behind each usernames and avatars is a real person.  If we’re only out for our own agenda and we hype ourselves and prod and manipulate our connections without any regard for them, well, that doesn’t sound very good to me.

Win-Win

Ultimately, I think social media should be about finding win-wins.  It’s about doing things that both advance your mission and the mission of those who you engage with in social media.

I believe each of us should have a social media agenda so we know what a “win” looks like for us.  And I believe we need to listen to those we’re connected with, so we know what a “win” looks like for them.  It’s only then that we can do things that are win-win.

Do you have a social media agenda?  Is it in alignment with your personal or organizational mission? What are some examples of things you do in social media that are win-wins?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

8 Responses to “Authentic or Not? Part 7: Having a Social Media Agenda”

  1. Hey thanks for the link love Paul and your comment on my blog!

    I think you are spot on it is a win-win. I'm not saying have a purpose, just don't be completely motivated by what your readers can do for you ONLY. It's a two way street. There shouldn't be an underlying selfish ulterior motive behind what we do.

    The context of my post was Problogger's seminar which was a bit more upfront about how the readers and communities are considered an asset/resource versus a person of worth and value in their own right.

    The seminar looked at blogging from a comercial perspective rather than a missional perspective.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Aug 13, 2010 at 11:42 am

      Hey Steve, thanks for clarifying. I hope I didn't mischaracterize your post here.

      It just seems that very few people are doing social media in the "win-win zone," most seem to be either all about their agenda or have no agenda at all.

  2. Maybe if churches posted more images on their Facebook page like the one you have for this post more men would stop by.

  3. I like your phrase mission=agenda. I honestly believe that agenda is not a dirty or self-promoting word. Agenda and purpose are pretty synonymous, right? We must be challenged as a church to let our mission define our agenda. Isn't our bottom line getting our message out to more people? Some people will substitute themselves or their church growth as the mission, but we are imperfect people in an imperfect world. There is gonna be some of that. I like the thinking of Kem Meyer that mission in communications needs to be strategic. If your heart is in the right place when it comes to people, you won't see those avatars and usernames as numbers, you'll see them as souls.

  4. Why is the woman in your pic with the blog thrusting her chest out wearing only a shirt?
    What was the purpose of this?

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