4 Myths People Want to Believe About Social Media

By Chris Forbes

iconsMyth #1: “Social media is a complete waste of time.”

Not true! Social media is a partial waste of time. Of course there are things you can do to lose track of your time while using social media, but there are many other ways you can use these networks to connect with your congregation and colleagues.

The benefit in deepening relationships and strengthening your connection with your congregation and the people in your community is worth the investment. Besides that, what’s wrong with a little diversion in your day anyway? Just budget your time, try to spend just 10-20 minutes a day. Most people check their networks in the morning, again around lunchtime, and then at night while they are watching “Dancing with the Stars” Speaking of a waste of time!

Myth #2: “The relationships on social media are too shallow.”

Maybe the interaction on social media isn’t the deepest stuff, people don’t always show their real selves and, then again, you don’t want to know some of the information a few people post. Like who needs constant updates about what’s leaking from your spleen today? But, marketing guru Jay Conrad Levinson says 68% of customers are ignored after the sale in business. How does that translate into people visiting or joining your congregation? Social media provides an easy-to-use channel for keeping in touch with the people you want to reach most, like visitors, new members, long-time members, and people in your community.

Myth #3: “People who use social media are vain because they think that people really care about the minutest details of their lives.”

They say people don’t care to hear about what you are eating. But people do care about what other people do and even what they eat. There are entire TV networks dedicated to food. For example, in France people can sit around for hours talking about food, books, and what’s the best way to insult tourists. Critics make it sound like you should only post about really important things and never talk about the trivial. But on social media, you are not expected to only post the important things you are doing. Talking about your day is just how you participate in these networks. I think it is far more vain sounding to only post about important things you are doing. Which status update seems more vain to you?

* ‘Wow, I just tried a Vegemite sandwich. Disgusting!’

* ‘Oh my, trying to figure out how to display my Congressional Medal of Honor.’

Myth #4: “I don’t have time for social media, I have more important things to do.”

Really? What are you doing that is more important than staying connected with the other human beings in your life? What are you doing that’s taking all of your time and making you so antisocial? Please tell me it doesn’t involve hiding ammo underground! Don’t you have 10-20 minutes a day you could use to share with other people? Do you really have zippo spare time?

Or could it be you don’t want to dedicate the time it takes to learn to use social media? I imagine when the phone was invented and first placed in church offices, some pastors didn’t think they had time for it either. Someone probably said, “I don’t have time to pick up this contraption and talk into it every time it rings…I am too busy… I write with a feather pen for crying out loud!” You have time to add another form of communication to your work if it means more effective communications, don’t you?



Chris Forbes

Chris Forbes is a 20-year veteran of communications, ethnographic research, and nonprofit marketing. He pioneered multiple global and national media initiatives in Internet, public relations, radio, and television while working as a ministry communication strategist and marketplace researcher with various organizations and ministries within the Southern Baptist Convention. Chris is also co-author of Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits: 250 Tactics to Promote, Recruit, Motivate, and Raise More Money.