I’ve been online since 1996. Those were dial-up days. I’ve learned a lot, made plenty of mistakes. If you want to find typos — you’ve come to the right place.
Along the way, through consistency and patience, I’ve developed a small platform. Weekly — almost daily — I hear from people wanting my opinion because they somehow think I have something to offer. It’s so easy to clean up your game and appear to actually know something online.
Seriously, I’m honored people would care what I think. I don’t consider myself an expert by any means. I’m still learning new things everyday. But, for whatever reason, people’s boredom probably, last year my blog realized just a few numbers shy of 3,000,000 page views. Amazing.
It’s not huge. I have friends with far more. But, it’s huge for me. And, it’s humbling. Thank you if you’re one of those.
But, reflecting on that fact reminded me of something sobering. It’s true for bloggers, and Tweeters, and those who popularize Facebook and Instagram. (And any other social medium.)
There is a sacred trust and responsibility with a platform.
Whether online or because of your position — you have a platform. People look to you for insight. (That’s true for my ministry friends — regardless of your church size.)
And, it’s a platform we must honor. And protect. And use wisely.
Here are 5 ways to honor your online platform:
Think before posting. You already know you should — otherwise you wouldn’t have the platform you do now — but sometimes it’s hard isn’t it? Like everyone else, you have an opinion. You have immediate thoughts. Things happen about which you don’t agree. I get it. It happens to all of us. And, you just happen to have a platform to share them. You can move people’s opinions faster.
But, that’s a dangerous combination if misused. People are listening to you. They respect you. Take time to reflect before you react. You can cause a lot of damage quickly. Beware!
Don’t post when angry. Record the thought — then wait — go back when your emotions have calmed and see if you still feel the same way. Also, consider how your core audience will feel when they read what you post.
Make sure you’re not just another negative influence in their world. There’s enough of that elsewhere.
Use your platform for the good of others. That’s what the world really needs. More positive influences. More platforms making the world a better place to live. Helpful.
Above everything, use the platform with which you’ve been entrusted to make a positive difference. That’s how you honor it and show appreciation to those who have given you the platform. And, remember, you wouldn’t have a platform if people hadn’t honored you with it.
You are a leader. With a platform. You have influence. Use it wisely.
Don’t support every cause. You may legitimately care about every issue, but if you do, you’ll water down the impact you can have on the issues you care about most.
Do you remember the story about the little boy who cried wolf? And, then no one took him serious. Yea, that. It’s not quite the same thing — but the reaction will be similar.
The more you can streamline your platform the stronger that platform will be.
Speak about what you know — and not as much what you don’t. Find your niche. And don’t say it’s everything.
People are looking to you — because you have a platform — for wisdom and advice. It’s unfair, therefore, for you to build a platform, lead people to trust you, and then address issues about which you know very little. That misuses the privilege of your platform. Leave the subjects about which you know little to the people with platforms who are knowledgeable about the areas you are not.
And, when you do feel led to speak about something of which you’re not an expert — tell people up front that you’re not an expert. And, better yet, point to some people who you consider experts.
Limit self-promotion. The surest way to (eventually) lose your platform is to abuse it. You abuse it when you are only online for your own personal benefit. It may work for a while. Really well, in fact, but eventually it comes back to burn you. (Pride goes before destruction – Proverbs 16:18.)
When you only promote yourself. When you pretend to be bigger than you really are — or when you’re posting just to get more page views — you are building a platform on shaky ground.
There is nothing wrong with profiting from a platform. Be strategic. And, that will include promotion. But, always consider the interest of others — first. Build your platform for the good of others — first. If rewards come from that — consider that grace.
Those are a few of my thoughts. And, in full transparency, it’s a good reminder for me as well. Thank you for being one more page view. I’m honored. Seriously.
What tips do you have for protecting a platform?