New Social Media Strategy: Relentlessly Encourage, Edify and Inform
I really don’t know what I’m doing with social media. As a pastor and someone who enjoys writing, I really should be better at it. Sometimes I tweet a Bible verse; sometimes I share a cute picture of my kids on Instagram or a meme on Facebook; other times I share about my writing on all three platforms. I’m sort of hodgepodge that way.
The one thing I do know is that I don’t like to be told what I should and should not post about on social media. For example, it drives me nuts when people imply that if I don’t post about “X” [insert latest controversy], then I don’t care about “X.” Come on, people.
While being annoyed and against something has a place, it can’t rightly occupy a proactive, positive strategy. I want to take the Bible seriously when it tells us “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). I want to hear the force of Jesus’s statement that “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:36). And I want to embody Paul’s approach to language when he says that he has “renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways,” instead committing to “the open statement of the truth,” (2 Corinthians 4:2)
For all these reasons, Ligon Duncan’s tweet last week about his strategy for social media caught my attention. Duncan is the Chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary and a popular author and speaker. His Twitter thread went like this:
My social media strategy:
Relentlessly encourage, edify & inform.
Ignore trolls, mockers & slanderers into oblivion.
Starve dissensionists, narcissists, & errorists of the attention they crave.
Point people to sound people & resources.
Exalt Christ. Bible. Grace. Truth. Gospel.
Stay out of food fights. Don’t lob hand grenades into serious discussions. Bring people together.
Be kind. Persuade (rather than rally).
Treat people on social media like I would treat them in person.
Don’t be different on social media from what I am in my life, family, church and ministry. Be the same person online and offline.
Don’t give inordinate attention to people whose only “platform” is social media & who elsewhere have little accountability, responsibility.
Duncan speaks of “ignoring trolls,” meaning those only trying to provoke conflict and grind an ax. I don’t have to worry much about trolls; they tend to congregate under larger bridges. Still, for the time being, I’ll try to make his approach, my approach.
Oh, I’ll still probably share some cute family pictures on Instagram too.