The PC has improved the world in just about every area you can think of.
Amazing developments in communications, collaboration, and efficiencies.
New kinds of entertainment and social media.
Access to information and the ability to give a voice to people who would never have been heard. – Bill Gates
There are different outlets for communicating online. We are not limited to getting our news and entertainment just from magazines and newspapers anymore. Expert advice and instruction were once only the information of specialty books. Scholarly input was once only found in niche journals. Today, we have a myriad of information troves and treasures at our fingertips.
Because so much is so readily available, we have to consider under what conditions we communicate in the virtual world. It is a real community, and we are representing Christ there. We must be careful not to disconnect from the humans connected to the screens, profile pics and comments we see online.
Communicating Online – Building and keeping a good reputation
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.
Just as in real life, you are responsible for your reputation online. If you are in the process of building a business, consider these points
- Pictures – This is a tricky topic because social media is often based on the pictures we post. Everything centers around how good you look. However, it is bigger than just having a nice profile pic. While sincerity and authenticity are paramount to building a following ( a tribe), editing which events you post is also important for the safety and security of you and your family and of your business. Strongly consider the kinds of pictures you post of your children and family. You might be comfortable with the exposure – they may not. Also, consider pictures you post which have controversial content. Believe it or not, depending on your business, that picture of you on summer vacation in a swimsuit can cause an uproar. Are you willing to deal with the comments?
- Comments – When someone is trying to figure out if you are for real, they will investigate. They will read comments you have left. They will check out the interactions you’ve had with others online. They may even engage to see how you respond to them. Never forget, no matter how another person acts, you are still talking to a real person, with feelings, with problems, and with their issues of brokenness. It is in the commenting and interaction where you can mirror Christ. How would He respond?
- Privacy – Learn how to adjust the privacy settings on your social media accounts. Find out how to delete someone and how to block someone if necessary. These parameters are useful for safeguarding your family and business from those individuals who are acting inappropriately or trying to take advantage of your platform. Decide what action you will take in these situations before it happens.
In all circumstances, especially online, authenticity and sincerity are recommended. Tell your story, because you have a story to tell and someone needs to hear it. Being yourself draws people to you. Humans seek connection. We are designed to be in community. We are created for relationship.
You cannot make real connections without being real. And being real means being vulnerable. It means taking off the mask and getting truthful about your story. This is easier to do when there is some distance between you and the most painful or the hardest parts of your story. However, it still means putting the softer parts of you out there. So, how do you find balance with vulnerability?
Finding the balance with vulnerability is very personal and very individual.
Start with only telling your story. Use caution when talking about other people’s stories!
Consider how tender you are when telling parts of your story. Do you still cry? If someone responds with criticism or doubt to your story, does it wound you? If so, those parts should be told carefully and sparingly until you feel more healed.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31 ESV
Don’t tell your story with vulnerability if you are looking for validation. Validation and meaning can only come from the Lord. He is the one who gives meaning to your life and all things in it. Do not look for this from your followers or you will be disappointed.
Being online, having an online presence means you are communicating online. You are never NOT communicating; you are either communicating poorly or communicating well. But you are communicating! As in all we do, as Christian entrepreneurs who are leaders, we must consider how God would have us do things. With a little thought, prayer, and guidance from the Holy Spirit you can make your online business presence an accurate extension of your real life business presence with dignity and finesse!