Posted by Andrew VanderPloeg
Recently, I logged on to Facebook to get an update on what was going on in my live feed and as I scrolled through the list, it struck me that I have developed some distinct patterns as to how I peruse that feed.
On any given day, that feed might present around two to three hundred posts to me and I really don't have time or desire to read each one individually. So, without even realizing it, what I've started to do is to perform triage on the posts as I scroll through the list. I realized that within a split second, my brain evaluates whether or not I wanted to read a post based on who was posting and what the post looked like (length, graphics associated, etc...), without ever reading a word of the post proper.
Furthermore, what has also happened over time as I've performed the above-mentioned triage, is that I've begun to categorize people as either those that post things that bring value to me or those that regularly say stuff that don't bring any value to me or that I can't contribute to...and for those in the latter group, I nearly always skip over them.
The reason I tell you this is to provide a really clear example of what happens with the messages we send.
When we as an audience are bombarded with information...and we are all the time...our minds find ways to perform triage on those messages so that the unrelated and inapplicable ones get discarded in favor of spending the time and brain power to digest those that might be of value to us.
So my question to you as a ministry or non-profit is, as you consider using or are already using properties like Facebook and Twitter, or taking up blogging, do you stop to think about whether or not what you are about to communicate is really and truly of value to your audience?
Often, the reality is that the messages that get communicated by organizations are more about the organization than they are about the audience. This is a sure-fire way to find yourself pouring more-and-more time into an unsuccessful online strategy. Bring value to those people that you are reaching out to. Provide offerings that motivate and enliven them and then continue to add value to it.
The thing you do, whether it be running a church or feeding starving children (and anything in between), isn't all about you. It's about who you serve and in a lot of cases, who helps you to serve them. I suppose we all like to think that those two perspectives are synonymous, but in reality, often they are not and the only way to make them mean the same thing is to actively work to be all about others.
Getting that in perspective will totally change how you communicate and what messages you send as a ministry or non-profit...and the happy by-product will be that you will undoubtedly be more successful at what you do.