As we develop and continue to improve Here I Am, talking to faith leaders remains one of the most enjoyable components of our work. The unique perspective of pastors and other church leaders continues to guide and motivate our work. As individuals who focus on the timeless nature of faith, leading a non-profit organization, and working to impact today’s world, the faith leaders provide a certain amount of selflessness not often seen in the business world.
A theme emerging over the past few weeks is the positive nature of social media when used to foster collaboration. Oftentimes, posts are created for the sake of popularity, a competition to see whose post will receive the most likes/ comments or shares.
Whether cute or controversial, many posts are created for the sake of our own well-being, providing a sense of validation to show that lots of other people like me or agree with my perspective. When a post receives one like (usually from a spouse or a close relative), one feels a letdown. When a post receives thousands of likes, a feeling of validation emerges. Healthy competition drives better quality posts over time, but can also lead to the extreme ends of social media as people push the envelope.
Posting for the sake of cooperation is different. Valuable facts and information needed to bring large groups of people together might not drive a number of likes and comments, but can indeed drive the real-world impacts needed. Sharing food bank information. Posting health updates. Illustrating the plight of impoverished families. These posts may not draw thousands of likes, but can motivate people to collaborate to make the world a better place.
Taking a step back and removing the competitive aspect of social media can help breath fresh air into the platforms and show their extreme usefulness. These platforms can be used to reach people that wouldn’t be reached via normal forms of communication and connect people that would otherwise be unconnected.
Using social media to collaborate spreads good messages and greatly enhances the reach of positive news, whether the post gets 3 likes or 300.
At Here I Am, we recognize the ongoing tension within social media of competitiveness and collaboration. The perspective of faith leaders helps balance the individual desire to be ‘liked’. Designing an app for faith communities keeps both of these perspectives in mind all the while feeding a deeper sense of connectedness.