It’s Tech Tuesday and today’s Techie post was going to be all about blogs. My witty, original title was “To blog or not to blog”. Yeah, I know, I used that format last week but hey, it worked then, why shouldn’t it work now?
As I was planning what I was going to write though, I began to realize that we cannot tackle these questions until we have a life plan.
Michael Hyatt wrote a great post (as usual) a while ago about having a 90 day plan. The basic gist of this is that: to achieve goals, we have to set goals.
Sounds logical, right?
How about this one then: If we don’t set goals, we wander aimlessly and cannot measure our achievements against anything.
I have had many conversations and read many blog posts recently which all go along the lines of “Should I blog or shouldn’t I? Should I use Twitter or not? Should I use Facebook or not?” Many people are deciding to stop using these tools altogether because they are a distraction.
See examples here, here and here.
I have come to the belief that these things can very much be a distraction, if we are not focused on why we are using them. The question we need to ask ourselves is not “Should I use XXXXX or not?” but “What is my goal for the next 90 days and how do I achieve that goal?”
Social networking can be very useful but if you are using it aimlessly, you risk being sucked into the vortex of addiction and craziness.
Ok, so you risk being sucked into the vortex anyway, but if you have a goal in mind, it can help you remain focused and not go off on tangents.
People use social network sites for different reasons and so their goals will be different. You may be housebound and use them for social interaction. You may use them for ministry and outreach. You may use them for promotion and marketing. You may, like me, use them for a mixture of the three.
I can’t set your goals for you, only you can do that – and you need to do it prayerfully.
What is God calling you to do over the next 90 days? What’s your mission, your aim, your ministry?
Mine look like this:
- Reach out to the people in my street
- Encourage other Christians locally, nationally and internationally wherever I have the opportunity
- Be a witness for Christ
- Find a book agent and publisher
- Build a platform for marketing my books
So how do I do this?
- Get out into my street and interact with my neighbors
- Use social networking sites (like Facebook and Twitter) to keep in touch with my neighbors and friends when I can’t be with them in person
- Share my experiences and what I am learning through my blog
- Use Twitter and visit other blogs to find people to encourage and build relationships with
- Submit book proposals to agents and publishers
- Give support to authors and other people in and around the publishing industry
Note three important things about this list: 1) The first (and most important) item involves NOT using my computer, 2) building a platform means building relationships, not just adding fake ‘friends’ to give the illusion of being popular and 3) I want something from the publishing industry (a book deal) so I know that first I need to give to it – you have to give to receive.
My specific goals:
- Spend at least two hours a week building friendships in the real world with my neighbors
- Listen to God’s voice and send messages of encouragement to whoever he says, whenever he says.
- Send query letters by the second week of June to at least ten agents/publishers
- Make friends and contacts through Twitter and visiting blogs daily, leaving comments and replying to messages consistently.
What are your goals. What is God calling you to do? Can a blog, a Facebook account, Twitter and the hundreds of other social networking sites and tools help you achieve those goals and answer that call?
…or are they just distractions that will keep you from doing what God has called you to do?
**** Update: If you’d like some help making a plan, click here ****
20 Reply to “Social Networking – it's time to plan”
Is there an amount of time that is not acceptable?
Nice goals but how do responsibilities fit the picture? I mean in addition to my goals, which have certain similarities to yours, I have created obligations for myslef by making some previous decisions: marriage, children, mortgage, friendships, chores, committees, and so forth… I think there might be more to the equation than just our goals. An example: I don’t think a person should own a dog that they are not willing to walk, feed, play with, groom, care for. By owning a dog we accept a certain set of obligations which by nature forego certain other possible uses of our time. Otherwise we abuse the dog and do something that is at lease unethical if not immoral. Just a thought for the discussion.
Goal setting should therefore include other responsibilities. Maybe two sets of goals, ministry goals and personal goals should be made. Personal goals may be:
1) Go on a date with my wife once a week
2) Compliment my wife at least once every day
3) Be home for dinner and to put my children to bed at least 5 nights a week
4) Set aside 1 hour every Monday to make sure that the bills are being paid on time.
5) Do my share of the chores around the house
These things are all measurable and can be monitored by you and an outside ‘accountability partner’.
What do you think?
I think you are right. There is a balance here with social networking, but the bottom line is why are we doing what we are doing? Good thoughts.
Thanks for dropping by Ron!
Even when I have goals, balance is the hardest thing, and it’s what I struggle with the most!
Nice post, Peter! I like your emphasis on having goals and building relationships. Great points to remember.
Do you want to know something funny? I was thinking of goals myself. Not blog goals, networkwork goals, or even life goals, but goals from day to day. I love mom, but I haven’t been happy lately, and I have come to the conclusion that I don’t set and know my goals or when I’ve accomplished them. I do stuff, but it has become so routine, I have forgotten why I do it. I am now trying to list my daily goals, not only to accomplish them, but to remind myself why I do what I do.
I think you asked the $64,000 question, Peter. I wish I knew what God is calling me to do. I want to hear it loud and clear, or even a whisper. I’ve found most of my goals pretty attainable if I clearly knew what they were. It just feels so nebulous sometimes. I have faith I’ll know eventually.
I thought about that as I was posting, Candy.
What is it that God is calling me to do?
I think that, in the absence of some great ‘calling’, it is necessary to just focus on what we have on our plate right now. Set goals that help you do what you are doing right now to the best of your ability.
Goals? I’m supposed to have GOALS?
Too much pressure, Peter.
Ah but you already do Katdish, you already do.
You have identified that blogging is taking too much time so you have brought in a guest blogger or two. Goal achieved!
Yesh! And I’m still waiting on a guest post from you.
I’m interested in hearing about giving to receive to break into the publishing industry. I’m still trying to figure out Twitter and FB. I’m backing off of Twitter since I’m not online all the time, but I still want to use FB for ministry. I guess my goal there would be similar to your #2 and #3. Not sure how these help with publishing though…
Fantastic post! I need to do this. Of course, the problem is that my goal list is totally unrealistic.
I love the idea of thinking through social media with a specific plan, though. That’s fantastic stuff.
Why social network? Why blog? Is it worth the time and effort? How do you make\find the time and effort?
Goals, planning, knowing the will of God for your life?
Wow, a blogger can just take this post and the additional comments and have a months worth of topics to cover.
I was blogging pretty consistently for most of last year. Then I wore out. What should or could I write about? Why spend the time and effort? Did anyone really care what I had to say anyway? So, I stopped blogging.
Part of the danger of social networking and blogging can be the temptation for self-promotion and measuring yourself and your message by page hits, RSS subscribers, friends, and followers. You may start out with a goal to reach the world with a message but the lure of popularity on the internet can grow to be just as consuming as the lure of popularity on the street.
Maybe this danger only applies to me. If so, then I guess this is just my confession on my weakness. Once it became evident that I would never have thousands of subscribers, I lost me passion for writing.
During my time away from the blogosphere, God has been working on me. He has confronted my pride and self-idolization. He’s broken my heart for others and put blogging\ministry in perspective for me again. So, I’m starting to get back into writing – this time, only for the glory of Jesus, even if I’m the only reader of what I write.
I like your goals Peter. I need to sit down and write out mine as well. I have so much going on in my head about where God might be leading me that a little organization to my thoughts could go a long way.
I do know what needs to go at the top of my list.
Goal Number One: Be completely sold out for Jesus, no matter what the cost, understanding that this may mean scratching out every other goal listed below.
If I can get just this impossible goal down, everything else will follow. Thank God that what is impossible for man is made possible by the cross.
Great post and great blog Peter. Don’t let it go to your head but I need to subscribe to this blog. Anyway to get an email subscription here?
P.S. Check out this post on social networking by John Piper.
Why and How I Am Tweeting
Thanks for coming by and for the great comment.
It’s not just you, I think most of us (me especially) have issues with pride and self-idolization within the social media scene at one time or another.
I had to take a break not long ago to deal with just that (and I can still feel it knocking on my door). That’s why I believe we need goals and focus. Next week I’m going to offer to start an accountability group to help people define some goals and be accountable for them.
Your goal #1 is awesome. How do you measure your success at it though? Goals need to be measurable (I realize some of mine may not be totally measurable)
I have thought about the email subscription thing in the past. I’ll try to work out a way to do it on Friday.
PS I read John Piper’s post yesterday – I like it! (thanks for sharing the link with us)
Your right about goal number one and measuring it. It really needs to be more of a guiding principle to measure your goals against or a filter so to speak. Accountability groups can help people keep their goals inline with their guiding principles as well.