As I have mentioned, I’m primarily using 3 social networks now: Mastodon (part of the Fediverse), Gab, and Savior Connect. I also have a presence on several others (as listed below my News & Updates), and though I’m happy with the activity on the first two, SC has a long way to go to become the Christian’s answer to Facebook. In fact, it isn’t too uncommon to see newer members wonder about the lack of responses and general activity there.
I absolutely cannot fault the owners/admins and whoever else runs the site. They are 100% dedicated and it shows! Keeping the site clean and safe is a priority, and in spite of how incredibly busy they must be just with the business and administrative side of things they are always there to provide comments, replies, encouragement, and help. They are amazing and do great things there!
I really really want to see this place continue to grow and shine out as a social media beacon. In other Saturday Social posts I have mentioned that we get out of social media what we put into it. And I wholeheartedly believe that, as far as it goes. So where is the friendly chatter amongst the members that people seem to be missing? Because I care so much about this site and the people there, I have given this a lot of thought. A LOT! And today I had an epiphany of sorts. But before I share that, I want to describe the site a little bit for those who haven’t yet been introduced.
When you first log on you are faced with a timeline. I’m not sure how the timeline is populated, or the criteria they use for determining what users see. I know that I don’t only see those people with whom I am friends; nor do I see all of the new posts on the pages and groups to which I have connected – so that doesn’t exactly make sense to me? (If it did, I’d definitely participate more in those; manually checking each one every day – or more often – is way too time-consuming for me.*) I’ve looked for a setting to see if I can customize my feed but haven’t found it yet – and haven’t taken the time yet to ask. Anyway, a huge percentage of that timeline is people sharing devotions, Bible verses, video messages/sermons they’ve made, and other religious blessings. ALL good stuff! And I read most of it (although due to our weak & slow internet I only attempt to watch videos from a couple of people that I really hate to miss), and comment on those things where I have something useful or encouraging to say. BUT overall, none of the above are conducive to conversation.
* I’ve watched multiple groups and pages start enthusiastically and become old museum pieces within weeks – could this be a reason? Just musing here…
(We’re getting to the epiphany, I promise!)
How do you get to know people if most of what they are sharing was written by somebody else? How do you develop relationship and friendships without any personal knowledge of someone? It can’t be done. If someone hands me a Bible and says nothing else, sure I’m thankful for the Bible – but that doesn’t make us friends so why would I want to chat with them?
There are also those who only post when they want prayer. NOTHING WRONG WITH SHARING A NEED FOR PRAYER! But again…doesn’t put the “social” in “social network.”
Oh, I’ve made attempts at changing things in my own personal sphere there, from trying to comment about every post where I could possibly think of something to say (usually no response, maybe some will click the like icon)…addressing specific people when I see/hear/read something that made me think of them (ignored, usually)…running a group for pet owners and including the photos in the monthly group cover photo updates (IF enough photos are posted – some months I’ve had to skip it)…mirroring most of my blog posts to their blogging section (compared to the number of hits they get on my site indicating their popularity, they’re a big yawn on SC)…updating my friends to eliminate those who don’t often post or post things I’m not interested in and adding people with whom it looks like I’d have more in common.
I have seen no uptick in the activity on my feed or responses to any of these – or other – things. None.
(Almost there now!)
So I think about places like Facebook (which I left several years ago) and Mewe (which I rarely visit now that I’m devoting more time to SC) that are active and chatty and friendly, and through which I’ve developed actual friendships. What’s different? What is missing???
(Here we go…)
Though Facebook, especially, gets ridiculed about the seemingly trite cat pictures and what-I-had-for-dinner posts, we learn more about people – the prerequisite to becoming friends – by these than by the occasional quote or meme they put up.
I realize that the Lord’s intent for me there MAY be to encourage people without expecting anything back. Very possible. Probable even. And that is fine. After all, it is a spiritual law that the more we seek, the more we receive when we GIVE, so that’s a good thing. If it were only me missing the fellowship that we were expecting there, I wouldn’t even be writing this. I’d just keep on doing what I’m doing.
I’ve decided that this month I am going to start posting the minutae of my life, the mundane stuff that seems to make up a big part of other, more friendly, platforms. The other members may think I’ve lost my mind, and I may lose friends. Or I may gain some, who knows? But it’s what came to me this morning. I will post pictures and recipes and stories about the grandkids and if I have to get a cat to post cat pictures I’ll do that too! (Not really, Pete…just kidding!) But I am going to share Every. Little. Thing. that I used to share on Facebook. Which, in the end, equates to putting out there who I am for those who want to actually be friendly. If I’m not your cup of tea, fine. But how will you know unless I open myself up and share? And maybe encourage you to do the same…let’s see how it goes!
(I won’t be mirroring this on Savior Connect but will report back about this experiment on the next few Saturdays!)