I am a HUGE fan of websites that help me communicate with friends such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, or Email Marketing sites where I can send hundreds of emails with one mouse click (www.mailchimp.com). The blessing of this technology is it allows Missionaries to easily move past what I call the “one hour relationship” with Churches or prayer supporters. It’s almost impossible to create a true relationship in one to two hours, but a desire can be developed to learn more about me, or what God is doing during that time, and that’s where technology tools come in. What people refer to as Social Media Websites, (Facebook, Twitter) are personal favorites since they allow me to share a brief update with friends in less than a minute using a phone or laptop computer.
A few weeks ago while preparing for some computer tutoring classes I came across a website that describes common personality types on Facebook. This included the Self-Pitier (will complain about what’s going on if they are having a bad day), the Over-Sharer (shares EVERY detail of their lives online), the Drama-King/Queen (always looking for affirmation or love from others), the Facebook-Stalker (always reading everyone else’s posts but never gets involved in the conversation), and the Self-Promoter (only shares things that makes them look awesome). The information from that site and other research was fascinating because most of us could find ourselves in one of these personality types (or a combination of two).
Of course the next question that popped into my mind was, “I wonder which one of those personalities I am?” It wasn’t hard to figure out. The following is a brief overview of Facebook posts from the last two weeks
1. Eight posts from my Blog
2. Four Posts about my Visa
3. Four Posts regarding my ESL Classes
4. Two Posts about running
5. Two Posts about my After School Bible Program
6. Four posts not having to do with my ministry in any way
Did you notice that out of the twenty-six posts only six of them weren’t ministry related? Actually I refer to the running posts as Self-Promotion since posting info about a five-mile run makes me look awesome 🙂 After taking a look at this it becomes clear that I’m a Self-Promoter on Facebook. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing since most of these updates refer to ministries God has called me too (if every one was about how awesome I am then there would be a problem). Yet the fact that the Facebook wall looks like an infomercial for my ministry probably isn’t very healthy.
The important thing is to evaluate what we share on Facebook and how people can perceive us because of it. The fact that I share up to five articles from the site on my wall each week may lead people to think I’m an egotistical person who thinks the world revolves around him…which is why I need to incorporate other types of communication online. For me personally that means being less of a Facebook-Stalker and actually become part of the conversation online even if it doesn’t have to do with ministry.
There are going to be moments when each of us over-shares, or becomes a drama-queen, and indulges in self-pity…that’s what happens when you’re able to update your status in a moment of emotion. We can however be careful about getting ourselves into the habit of only communicating in one way, because in the long run that will focus on our own needs instead of God’s purpose.