One the reasons people in ministry most frequently give for not using (learning) social media is “I don’t have the time.” No doubt they are very busy and probably wearing multiple hats. Finding the time is not as easy as it sounds. What often happens to hard workers is that they accumulate jobs. If you are good at what you do—more people want you to help them. What is also true is that we continue to do work that no longer has a significant impact, could be done by someone else or is not in our job description.
We need to take stock of how we are spending our time. Using the Internet and social media for ministry is about communication and collaboration. Where are they on our priority list? If we want to be more collaborative and have greater impact on a larger segment of the population, they need to be near the top.
Three ways to make time for using the Internet and social media for mission:
- Schedule the time—at least two hours a week. Make appointments for yourself in time allotments that work for you, for example 30 minutes a day, four times a week; or one hour a day, twice a week. Schedule it and do it.
- Make yourself accountable to a colleague. If you have to report to someone whether or not you are devoting the time—you will do it.
- If you are too busy to use the new technologies to communicate and collaborate with others, take charge of your life and stop doing something else.
Five things to do with your Internet time:
- Learn how to use one of the major social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Set up a profile (with a photo!) and network with others. Go to places like ehow.com or About.com for help.
- Find bloggers who are writing about your interest areas—read their blogs and try to make a comment. You can find these blogs with an Internet search on the topic/tool that you are interested in and add the word “blog” to the search. Here is what you find if you put “how to use social media blog” in the search engine. Click on the links until you find a blog that you like and subscribe to it.
- Regularly visit your organization’s website and make sure that the content is up to date and that all of the links work. If updates or changes are needed—bring that to the attention of your webmaster.
- Respond to emails in a timely manner. Organize your emails. Create folders for projects or people with whom you are working; check your spam to make sure that important messages have not inadvertently been placed there, etc.
- Read a book on the value of social media or how to use a tool. There are some suggestions in the CWS bookstore. Apply what you learn.
You won’t have trouble finding ways to use your Internet time productively—you just have to commit to it.
How much time do you devote to social media for mission each week? How do you use that time?