SOCIAL MEDIA: Time for a Change

If I had to start this little story from the beginning, I’d lose you before getting to the part that’s really important. So I’ll start here… I’ve developed a passion for social networking in the last while. One that has lead me to reading books, articles, blogs about the potential of this new way of communicating. One that has lead me to submitting a thesis proposal on the potential of social networking in the life of the church.  And one which has lead me to pay attention to how you, my fellow social networker, handle your facebook and twitter presence.

I’ve realized that in some ways, I’ve done it well.  But in many ways, I’ve messed it up. After reading a particularly great book about Social Media (ask me about it!) I realized that the problem has been the translation between my ‘real’ life to my social networking life.  While it is absolutely possible (and dare I say, fairly common) to sit with a mate sharing a cocktail and having a deep theological discussion, posting a pic of said friend and I having a cocktail, immediately followed by a somewhat deep scriptural tweet doesn’t seem to hit the mark. (Or does it? I’m not sure… this is a journey…have your say).

This got me thinking (and asking, as you’ll see in the near future): Why exactly am I on twitter and facebook?  The simple answer is the truest, and in this case the simple answer is two fold. Firstly, it brings me great joy sharing my life with the people around me.  So, I happen to be one of those people who upload many pics; share somewhat irrelevant details (too many! I will slow down, promise) and tweet the enjoyable moments in my life. I guess, if I’m honest, it brings me joy when I see YOU having fun, so I’d like to think the same applies in reverse. (Naive, maybe, but ever hopeful).

Secondly, I want to inspire. Challenge. Shed light. Bring hope. Make a different. Love. Motivate. Teach.

I suspect, attempting to put the two together has not been the best move because I am well aware that there are people in my ‘SN’ world that couldn’t care less about my lunch date with my wife, the concert I went to or the view from my car while stuck in traffic. Likewise, there are others who couldn’t care less about the scriptures that inspire me, the sermon notes that challenge me or the lectures that educate me. So putting them together in one feed…well, I don’t think thats been the best idea.

So I’ve decided to try something. And upfront, I admit, this may be a bad idea. But I’m separating my social networking world into  the “this is my life, join the journey even though often it will be random” Mark and the “come be inspired, challenged, motivated and introduced to scripture” Pastor Mark.

Before you jump ahead of me… slow down. I am not living two identities – both of the above are part of who I am in the “real world”. If you know me, you’ll know this.  Secondly, you may think it presumptuous that I have two twitter accounts or facebook profiles – but actually, I think it’s less presumptuous than thinking that the people who want to follow me on twitter/FB want to know everything about me.

My goal is simply to connect with as many people in the most appropriate way possible. So, this is where you’ll find me.

If you already follow me on twitter @markpaul0 – thank you! This is where I’ll journey through the random happenings of life. I’ll tweet pics of my lunch, of my friends, of my amazingly beautiful, talented, selfless wife (@tampaul0 by the way), sneak pics of things that I wish you were around to see but hope the person I’m taking the pics of doesn’t notice and the general “this is my life” stuff.

If you would like to be part of the journey that is my growth in God,  follow me at @revmarkpaul or like my page at www.facebook.com/markpauldevotions – this is where I’ll share scriptural insight, tweet motivational quotes and pics, and generally attempt to be light in the social networking darkness.  I’ll be experimenting here, possibly deliberately finding people looking for hope, and encouraging them, thereby inviting you to join the journey of sharing the love of God with people you’ve never met – but we’ll see how that works, practically.

Having two twitter accounts, specifically, does not mean I will be tweeting more. In fact, if anything I’ll tweet less, or the same as I currently do. You just have the choice now to be part of only one side, both sides (or, even no sides) of the journey.

So, see you at markpaul0 or revmarkpaul soon, I hope

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