What would Jesus do if He were physically present during this particular age, the future of which is so shaped and influenced by social media? When you examine the gospels, you see that Jesus was passionate about spending time where people gathered – public wells and bathhouses, beaches and riversides, the town squares of his day.
What I do know is that in Acts 20:35, Jesus said one of the wisest things that has ever been said… “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” In context, Paul is reminding the leaders from Ephesus that helping the weak is a very important aspect of church life, but there’s definitely a broad application of this statement that applies directly to a proper understanding of social media. With blogging, tweeting, forum participation, and online marketing, it’s always more blessed to give than to receive.
Amazingly, to leverage social media, you have to avoid leveraging social media. To squeeze it for all it’s worth, you have to avoid a traditional approach to selling. One aspect of social media I’ve come to love and appreciate is that it has forced marketers, information providers, and creatives to re-evaluate our approach to communication.
Use Twitter strictly as a self-promotion tool and you’ll lose followers. Put a subscription popup on your blog and I’ll click away nine times out of ten. Fill your content with annoying double-underlined spammy links and I’ll quit clicking anything.
If you want to make money online, be a provider and a giver before you’re a moocher and a taker. If you want to change the world, share ideas that change lives. Reward your followers, readers, and subscribers. Connect relationally to those who support you. Respond to those who reach out to you. Either people are worth the time, or you should find something else to do with it.
I think the greatest rule of the social media revolution is going to be a revolutionary thought uttered almost twenty centuries ago, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”