The #1 reason you should use social networks

  Because you can love people better.

I work for a non-profit and the financial funding is from the local community.  I've done this now for almost 13 years.  Part of the role is meeting with donors, asking them to support the work we do.  Our focus is relationships first, participation second.  That goes for any volunteer or donor in the organization.

When I started working for the organization in 2000 my boss brought me into his office and showed me his file cabinet.  In the cabinet was a file with folders for each of the top donors.  In each folder was nothing more than a sheet of paper with notes about the life of the donor.  This way when my boss met with a donor he could recall things happening in the life of the donor from the previous conversation and then ask follow up questions.  The ultimate goal: To demonstrate we care as much about the donor's life as we do about their financial gift.

Now fast forward 13 years.  The need for such a file is almost pointless.  The people we are trying to love are sharing their lives through social media.  This was my past 24 hours.  I had four conversation where I was able to invest relationally with someone and ask them about major events in their life because I PAID ATTENTION to what they shared online.  They were AWESOME conversations and so fun to have.  One conversation was even the first in six years, but you never would have known it had been that long. I knew the BIG things happening in their life because of Facebook and I could see it made them feel valued that I paid attention.

If you want a different culture you need to do things differently.  Join Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  Don't do it so people can know more about you, do it so you know more about others.  If you continue to ignore these mediums you are less informed about the lives of people you are wanting to love well.  You're passing up on an incredible opportunity to "see" people.  Paying attention enables you to ask great questions and do acts of kindness for those want to care for.  Think about it.