in knowing which voice has a right to our time."
~ Susan Lenzkes
As much as I appreciate them both, I spend just enough time visiting Facebook and Twitter to not be a stranger.
Facebook has been a tremendous blessing, allowing me keep up with my large, faraway family, whom I deeply miss. I'm also grateful to stay in touch with people at our moderately large church. I think of Facebook as a semi-private locale, like talking with friends in a restaurant.
I've been declining friend requests from people I don't know at all, who are "friends" of "friends" in publishing circles. But what I really need to do is maintain a separate Facebook page for my professional life, where a different type of communication takes place. The thought of maintaining two Facebook pages does not appeal, but I've come to terms with the fact that publishing has entered an era where an author is no longer permitted the luxury of seclusion, even the quasi-privacy of Facebook.
What an experience Twitter is! I appreciate the wealth of information exchanged, though I rarely have the time to indulge in conversation. My Twitter posts are exchanging hello's and thanks, promoting blog posts of myself and others, and most especially sharing quotes. While some people may think me unoriginal, a 140-character snippet can clearly and concisely share a compelling perspective with the potential to change the way we approach life.
Twitter is the epitome of an etiquette challenge, where surely even Emily Post would throw up her arms in resignation. I don't care for the game of "I'll follow you, you follow me back, and we both get to pump our egos by watching our followers numbers increase without ever actually paying attention to one another."
Some Twitterers follow just long enough for you to follow back as a courtesy, then delete you to enhance only their own numbers. I've started waiting a week to follow back, unless it's someone I know. About two thirds of the people who follow me have un-followed by the end of that week, which implies that they are more about inflating numbers than interested in what I have to say.
The other third? If they're not inappropriate or obvious spam, I usually follow back and send a personalized DM to make contact. I'm ready to engage them, however much communication we actually accomplish.
However naive or unrealistic I might be, I'd like to try and emulate my Lord Jesus on even social media. He had wider circles and inner circles of associations. He distinguishes between those who simply wish to be numbered as followers and those ready to listen to Him. And in each contact, His desire is to express love and glorify the Father.
Care to share your approach to the mixed blessing of social media?
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Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.