Curt Richardson, CEO of mobile device case maker OtterBox, recently went public with his ‘just say no’ stance on social media. For him personally (Note: Not OtterBox in general, just Curt personally), he doesn’t have enough time to do it right:
“I believe that to be a valuable participant in social media, you must really dedicate the time.”
In an age when you have to jump on every techno-bandwagon in order to be relevant, it’s refreshing to hear a CEO say no.
This is good advice for busy pastors. You don’t have to keep up with the other Twitter-posting, Facebook-hopping pastors out there. You can opt out.
A few lessons from this little insight:
- If you can’t do it well, don’t do it.
Doing something well requires a heavy commitment of time and energy. You can’t just wing it and expect it to be amazing. That’s true for a lot of life and it’s definitely true with social media. Heck, it’s true with a lot of communications. If you can’t do a new effort well, don’t waste your energy. You’re better off focusing more effort into fewer projects and doing them ten times better.
- Know what you’re missing.
Don’t get too far ahead of yourself—busy is not an excuse. It doesn’t take a lot of time to have a valuable presence on social media. You can spend five minutes a day and get plenty out of it. You need to weigh the pros and cons of being on social media. Social media can personalize pastors and make them more approachable, not just to your congregation, but to your wider community. Being even more approachable might be a scary thing, but it can also deliver great value, especially in terms of outreach. If you’re going to say no to social media, know what you’re missing. Don’t let ‘busy’ be an easy excuse.
- Lower expectations.
If you are busy but still see the potential value of social media, sometimes it’s better to lower expectations. Instead of being a social media rock star, maybe you’re just going to be a quiet observer. That’s OK. Not everyone has to post 30 times a day. Add something to your profile to let people know that you’re not fully invested and you’re just trying the waters. That’s OK. By redefining the expectations, you allow social media to work in a way that works for you, not just what the hipsters say you have to do. And this is true for a lot of communication efforts. Maybe your church can’t do a website well, but you still need to have one. OK, lower the expectations. Instead of doing a huge site that’s never updated, do a single page really well.
- This is personal, not business.
Finally, note that Curt Richardson’s social media opt out was a personal choice, not a business choice. OtterBox still uses social media. Your church may still need a presence on social media, even if you as a pastor decide to opt out. Many of these ideas still apply to a corporate account—if you’re going to do it you need to do it well (there’s nothing worse than a church Facebook page with updates from last Thanksgiving) and lower the expectations if you need to. Whatever will make it work. Just remember that opting out personally is not the same as opting out for your wider organization.