Why it is so hard to talk about our Christian faith

The Cross 400px

This is the start of my Grace series:

When I started this blog I was torn. I felt lead to create a blog that involved me writing about my walk with Christ. But the Tech side of me wanted a place too. I thought the solution was to create one place. Now don’t Google it as it will just embarrass me but there are a lot of web addresses with variations on Faith and Technology out there. A smarter person would have researched this more perhaps but faithandtech.com is what I wanted to call my site so no one had any reason not to expect the content they find here.

As I seem to build a slow following on Social Media, I began to feel uncomfortable posting things about my faith. Sure posting such things on a Sunday morning was one thing, posts like, “Go visit God’s House today, he is looking forward to seeing you” etc got me a few followers and a few retweets but not much. And sometimes I would post sentiments about my faith or links to Bible verses I ran across in my devotional reading. I usually did this in the early mornings when no one would really see them. Why? I didn’t want to turn people off from following me. What?!?

You see it is so easy to be scared in this modern day to share our faith. We don’t want to be persecuted or made fun of because of our beliefs. As we are often, myself included, unable to walk as faithfully in our journey as we should, sometimes we don’t talk about our faith because our actions and words don’t reflect our faith anyway. If being a Christian were a disease, a doctor would have trouble finding our symptoms. I have let God down so many times. I am not ashamed of my faith; instead I am ashamed I have not walked faithfully. And what makes it harder is that instead of Christians being persecuted in person as in so many countries around the world, we are allowing the media and other groups slowly put us in a box by removing opportunities for us to share our faith. Do I think America is a country that should be Christian, yes, but it isn’t going to happen. Prayer has been removed from our schools. We can’t display the Ten Commandments in places for fear of offending someone. It is so hard to share our faith when we worry about offending someone. But first of all, the best way to share our faith is to live it. Have it be woven into our every moment. A couple of days a go a pastor on the radio talked about how our Work and Faith are not one and the same. Basically as soon as we walk into our company’s front door, the Lord does not exist there. We spend so much more time at work than we do home and we certainly do not spend much time at Church. Jesus is our savior and we owe God everything for even letting us exist. Do you spend time praying every day? Do you spend time reading the Bible every day? Think about how often you think about Christ in your every day living? Do you go whole days without thinking of the Lord once? Only when we are close to God can we boldly speak about our faith and is our faith active in us. If you have no support system, it is hard to step out into the Light and explain who you are to others. God is with us.

I realized I was more concerned with followers on Social Media than I was with sharing my Christian beliefs. Because of this I allowed the devil to convince me not to post about God on my blog and on social media. My plan is to not let that happen again. If God wants me to have a following on Social Media, it will happen and nothing will stop it. If he does not then nothing I can do will make it happen. What is really important is to be faithful to Christ. That is the most important thing.

God gave us grace before we were even born, this is Prevenient Grace. God loved us and loves us. He wants a relationship with us.

We can not walk with Christ if we do not seek him out. This is Justifying Grace. It is us seeking God and seeking forgiveness of our sins. It is about us seeking to maintain that relationship with him once we allow it to happen. When we actively walk with Christ it is so much easier to share our faith and love with others.

I plan to start sharing my faith, working hard to stay faithful and to be Bold about Christ.

Experiments in Bad Social Media (Part 1)

A while back I read a great booked called “The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users” by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzsimmons. Great book. It pointed out a lot of things I speculated about social media and it told me a lot of new things. So when 2015 hit, I said to myself this is going to be my year and I am going to make great strides on my blog, my books, and my social media presence. You may have said similar. It takes time and patience to do all of that. It seems to also take sleep deprivation.

You may not know this but I am lazy. I try to find the shortest path to any problem. Because of that I am willing to experiment from time to time with radical jumps in logic to see what works and what doesn’t. Social Media has been an ongoing experiment for me. Editor’s Note” By the way, that Wine company still follows me on Twitter as do a lot of the ones who jumped on board because of that Wine festival. 

So recently I was hovering just under 1200 followers on Twitter. I could not seem to break 1200. For every 20 followers on Twitter, 10 will unfollow you. This isn’t an exact science but that seems to be the ratio. This happens mostly because of so many spammy accounts on Twitter.

unfollowers-dot-com

I use a site called unfollowers.com They have a paid service but I use the free one. I used to be fixated on how many followed or unfollowed me. I learned quickly this is not a good strategy. 

You can't get fixated on who unfollows you. Instead, get fixated on those who do follow you. Click To Tweet

So unfollowers.com shows you how many followers were suspended from Twitter. They made the Twitter Gods mad and were smited by Twitter. But it doesn’t show you their names as well, they are basically just no longer on Twitter. These users usually come from the “$29 dollars and I will give you 5000 followers” type Twitter accounts that pop up all the time. What is often interesting is to see the real people who follow these accounts. It is also strange to see how many real accounts are accounts that are a part of the 5000. Here is a great story about someone who paid $5 on Fiverr.com and what their results were. So today 9 users in the list got suspended. This is how the numbers of followers and unfollowers fluctuate so fast.

unfollowers-Twitter-Suspended-Users

But unfollower.com does have some great statistics, such as who are your Zombie followers? Those who followed you and have become inactive on Twitter are Zombies.  I have theorized and even read some articles that elude to the fact that if less people follow you than you follow, some people will not follow you. So I every so often prune those I follow, especially those who followed me but then stopped tweeting. If I had followed them back and they stopped posting, not much use to keep following them. For me the magic number used to be I would follow less than a thousand people. See, I don’t like to follow companies or famous people. Sure this probably means I have less followers but I prefer to follow genuine real people and I try my best to be a genuine person. Also, I don’t follow Egg Heads. You know what I mean. The ones that never load a profile picture. What do they have to hide? If you want genuine followers you have to be genuine yourself and post a real photo of yourself. Only people who have already earned a lot of followers or who are artists or photographers can post a cartoon head from the Simpson’s and still earn new followers.

Here are some tips that I should use to get and keep Twitter followers:

1. Be authentic

2. Post great headlines

3. Engage with your users

4. Tweets with photos get more clicks, more favorites, more everything

5. Post often by using hootsuite or Buffer

I use Hootsuite (the paid version) but 99% of what I want to accomplish I could do with the free version. You should try the free version of either. In the future I think I will try Buffer app. Both schedule your content based when your tweets seem to be read the most.

6. Figure out what your niche is. You can’t focus on great content if you are all over the place. My niche seems to be Computer Security, Cool Technology, WordPress, and the occasional funny Internet post. Look at Twitter Analytics to see what of your Tweets interest others. Buffer and Hootsuite also will show you your trends.

Hootsuite Stats

Here is an actual complete report if you want to see what Hootsuite provides.Ow.ly Click Summary – aroyrichardsonFeb2015

Part 2, I tell you some of the crazy things I have tried and what worked and what didn’t.