In October I spoke at the Relevant Conference on a panel about social media. I have this awesome gig as the social media manager for DaySpring and community manager for their website, (in)courage. I love my job and I think about social media like, a lot. This week I’ll be sharing 4 posts with some of those thoughts.

I like to build things.

My son, he builds with wood and hammer and nails so rusted they speak of being long forgotten in the yard. He drags his dad’s yellow and gray tool box outside and uses its contents so lovingly that it’s hard to complain when he forgets to bring it back inside.

I like to build things too.

I build with words. I build with a keyboard. I build with thin strands of friendship strung across the globe.

You can call it social media. I call it conversation. And I think it’s one of the most powerful tools we have to date to live out that greatest of commands:

The world tell us social media is about building our platform, our brand, our followers, our name. To get while the getting’s good. That it’s a land grab and grabbing requires a finger in every network, a post every day, a PhD in SEO, and  herculean competition for attention.

Exhausting. The worrying that wherever one woman succeeds there’s that much less land for the women coming up behind.

What if instead social media was a way to build a bridge?

To lay ourselves down, plank by plank, word by word, and offer a way for women to walk out of their fears, their loneliness, their desperate belief that they are the only ones to have failed at parenting or marriage or decorating or educating their children and discover that they are not alone.

I’ve made four international moves in the last decade and they’ve taught me three things: 1. that every city is full of people who will cry over my boxes by the time I leave, 2. that the metro makes sense in any language, and 3. that people are people are people no matter which side of the road they drive on.

My dad is a doctor and he tells anyone considering medicine, “If you don’t like people, it’s not for you.”

Social media is the same. It runs on relationships. And if you’re in it for you more than you’re in it for them, it will never pay off.

I find this applies across the board – no matter our zip code, our faith, our niche, or our culture.

We have to be willing to hammer out our stories and share them for free. And I’m not talking about ads vs. no ads on our sites. I’m talking about what we expect in return from our readers. Are we in it for what we have to give them or what we hope to get from them?

What if we cared less about our stats and more about the wonder of encouraging someone who lives half a world away from us but is comforted by what we’re going through?

What if we served ourselves as love offering to those starving for encouragement.

What if the best translation of the Gospel is your life?

How are you spending your social media currency?

What if it looked like this?

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