Social Networking – it's time to plan

blogstatsIt’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:

  1. Reach out to the people in my street
  2. Encourage other Christians locally, nationally and internationally wherever I have the opportunity
  3. Be a witness for Christ
  4. Find a book agent and publisher
  5. Build a platform for marketing my books

So how do I do this?

  1. Get out into my street and interact with my neighbors
  2. 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
  3. Share my experiences and what I am learning through my blog
  4. Use Twitter and visit other blogs to find people to encourage and build relationships with
  5. Submit book proposals to agents and publishers
  6. 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:

  1. Spend at least two hours a week building friendships in the real world with my neighbors
  2. Listen to God’s voice and send messages of encouragement to whoever he says, whenever he says.
  3. Send query letters by the second week of June to at least ten agents/publishers
  4. 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 ****