In a post several weeks back, I regaled you with a discussion of my refrigerator and its exterior contents. I talked about the pictures and other items that we place for all visitors to see. We “put ourselves out there” and hopefully we share our thoughts, our life, and even our faith with those who come under our roof.
But within the confines of our home, it is sometimes easier to state your values and beliefs than in a more public forum, like say, Facebook or LinkedIn.com, where we often go beyond our family and friends, to include a wider circle of acquaintances and colleagues. And I suppose there are many reasons why we may or may not publish the same content on-line, that exists “on-fridge”. And maybe this is the challenge of this particular post; don’t be afraid to say who you are, wherever you are.
There is a not-so-famous saying that I use often from an old cult movie called “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eight Dimension”. The hero, Buckaroo Banzai, a combination Surgeon, Physicist, Rock and Roller, delivers this line, that “just remember, no matter where you go, there you are…” I think we need to live this way a little more. Be who you are, no matter where you are, or who you are with (physically or virtually).
For instance, on Facebook, do you list the books, movies, actors, radio stations etc. that you “Like”, even if the Book happens to be the Bible, the movie might be “The Passion of the Christ” and the radio station might be “The Catholic Channel“ ? (BTW, The Catholic Channel is a great XM radio station, whether you are Catholic or not – some great and challenging talk radio.)
Do you post your Religious Views? What Groups do you join, in addition to all the “I Grew Up in Anytown” or the “High School Reunion” page?
I’m not trying to make any judgements here, but it is important to understand that many people are connected to you, and even people with completely differing philosophies, or religious beliefs, or other social differences, may read (and read into) your profile. Do you worry about ticking them off? Do you worry that your ideology might be offensive them? I am connected with a lot of people who are at the opposite end of the political, religious, philosophical, and gender, scale than I, and while I think is important not to use this particular forum to bash those who think differently, we can still state our beliefs in a positive and caring way. Too many times, we don’t say what we believe, and end up giving people the impression that we agree with them, when we really don’t. Or we state in such a way that it appears to be a judgement (which we are really in no position to make). But we can still appreciate someone or love someone as they are. And in our hearts (in private) we can pray.
Paul in the first letter to the Corinthians, states it this way: “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share in its blessings” (1 Cor 9:22-23). Paul was still Paul, even when he “became like one not having the law” (1 Cor.9:21). He never denied the Gospel that he proclaimed, even when he was convincing so many in his day that there was only one way to salvation. He always tried to look at people with compassionate eyes. And so we need to be compassionate on-line. But don’t hide who we are.
So in addition to share my page links to The Daily Grind in Farmville, VA and to the Princeton Record Exchange, I will also share my interest in the North Country Fellowship Church, the Christian Businessman’s Connection, and The Bridge Christian Radio.
And what about our professional profile? Do we have an opportunity to share, even in small ways, what we are about? LinkedIn.com has become to professionals what Facebook is to individuals, a network that keeps us connected and shares information about ourselves. In addition to our curriculum vitae, we post the current books we are reading, Groups that we belong to and interests. Explore some of your interests outside of the strictly professional. I’ve found some interesting Groups on LinkedIn, where I’ve participated in discussions about Faith and the challenges of sharing our faith in the workplace.
I’ve been sharing links to this blog on my networking sites, so I guess it’s time to share the networking profiles here. I hope that I’ve shared a little bit about myself, but more importantly, I hope that this will encourage you to contemplate how you put your social networking to work as well.