The changes are profound. Whether I like it or not, people are using social media to make personal anouncements and plan meetings. They are marketing their businesses and themselves. They are expressing their griefs and trumpeting their happiest moments. And much of it is happening in real time. Right now.
In my previous post, I voiced my position that social media is simply an alternative form of communication and a way of doing relationships. I also shared some “don’ts” for interacting with others on Facebook. In this piece, let me offer some more rough notes describing the “dos” of digital interactions with real people: six social skills that promote relationships through Facebook.
- Read widely – what others are doing and saying (many different friends).
- Read in-depth (previous posts on a friend’s wall) – I am calling it “social browsing.”
- Gain the Other Perspective
- Empathy – Exercise compassion and awareness of the other person
- Harder to do online – clearly, easier to do in person.
- Identify and Meet Needs
- Ask sensitive/personal questions privately via a message vs. posting on the wall
- Commit to pray (and really do it), then follow-up with a call or visit.
- Give Affirmation
- “like” = a form of affirmation, agreement, or praise.
- People need encouragement more than they need your correction.
- Don’t give your opinions and answers if someone isn’t asking for them.
- Filter Yourself
- Read before you post – gauge your words and change them as needed.
- “In my opinion” or “have you considered” is better than an absolute statement.
- Let Friends “In” to Your World
- Share your passion.
- Trust is cultivated through intimacy – people feel like they know you through your posts.
- Your posts can trigger a ministry or work-related interaction.
For example… you can post:
- What I am doing or who I am with.
- Something I am thinking or learning.
- Quotes, trivia, or facts.
- Humorous events or observations.
- How your work is making a difference.
- Promoting a work-related message or resource.
Social media is here to stay. Get involved. Learn. Listen. Share. But above all, honor Him in your relationships whether online or offline.