Monday, January 18, 2016

Don’t Be Legalistic About Social Media

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Social media stresses a lot of people out, but it doesn’t have to.

One of the biggest issues is that people tend to approach it with a have-to-do, legalistic mindset. Truthfully, because successful social media is all about relationship building, it works best when we treat it organically.

Because it’s easier to manage with a set of guidelines:
  • Be consistent.
  • Avoid self promotion.

It’s easy to get caught up in the to do list and forget the point.

They’re not numbers, they’re people.

They're not numbers, they're people.
We even begin to judge the worth of what we have to say by those numbers. Let me remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing. Why you sweat over a keyboard, struggling to find the right word. Why you risk rejection by submitting those carefully crafted words to editors, agents and contest judges.

We’re doing it because we want to make a difference in the world around us—a world made up of people. If all we’re looking for is higher numbers, we’ve missed the point. We’ve set a course that follows certain frustration and ultimate failure. So if it’s not for the numbers, then what’s the point? Why even bother with social media?

The point is what the numbers represent…the point is the individuals who can be impacted by what we write…challenged by what we say…changed by what we share.

When I get caught up chasing the numbers, the significance of what I’m doing diminishes. But when I step away from the race and concentrate on who I’m writing for and who I’m writing to, things fall back into place.

I’m first and foremost a writer. For me, social media is a tool. It’s the means to an end. It helps me find my audience. But when I begin to measure my worth as a writer through the numbers of social media, I’ve gotten off course.

My worth is not determined by my numbers.
My worth is not determined by my numbers.

For me, the blog posts that mean the most are rarely the ones that generate the highest numbers. The ones that mean the most are those that help someone, that connect the dots for an individual who’s hurting or help someone who’s frustrated finally see the light. It’s when I pen those words that I feel true satisfaction in my calling.

Here are some other things we need to remember:
  • It’s God who provides the reach, we only need to be faithful to do our part.
  • We build relationships one person at a time.
  • I remind myself that it’s not about me.

How about you? How do you avoid the trap of legalistic social media? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


Our #socialmedia numbers are so much more – they’repeople! @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)


  1. Thanks for the reminder Edie. My numbers aren't high, but I consistently hear from people that my posts have ministered to them. When I tend to get discouraged, I have to remind myself that God has called me write even if it is just for one person who needs to hear the words He speaks through my writing.

    1. Like Sheryl, I don't have high numbers on social media, but as you said if I touch even just one person, that matters. Thanks for the reminder.

    2. me too Sheryl!!! AMEN!! even if it's "just" one person!

    3. Sheryl, Ellen & Robin, you've all got the right mindset! Thanks for sharing! Blessings, E

  2. You always have such great advice. On twitter, when someone follows me, I thank them. I check their website and try to leave a comment. My followers have doubled in less than a year. I try to retweet others and comment on their tweets. It takes less than 30 min. each day. I have met some wonderful people.

    1. Cherrilynn, all good practices and your interactions are proving that out. Keep up the good work! Blessings, E

  3. Thank you Edie, for another insightful blog. Also want to thank Cherrilyn who commented. I thank those who follow me on Twitter, but seldom go to their blog. I'll start doing that.

    Pat W. Kirk