Communicators: Embrace Social Media or Quit


If you’re a communicator, you cannot afford not to be engaged in social media. I know this sounds like a mandate, and it is. Even if only a part of your job is to communicate the vision, mission and direction of the organization you lead, you, more than anyone else in your organization, should lead the social media charge.

Communicators must embrace social media or quit

I meet with leaders who refuse to embrace any social platforms. Their excuses are always the same:

I don’t get it.

I don’t have time.

I’m a private person.

I have nothing to say.

Until recently I used to go down a list of why it didn’t take that much time and how to manage time. I patiently talked about how even a private person could have a dynamic online presence, and how even the most introvert of leaders has something to say to his or her organization as well as to the community at large. Those were compelling arguments and I was careful to explain them. Often I got through, but occasionally I would get the nod that said “thanks for trying, but it’s not going to happen.”

Recently I have changed my approach. This week I found myself saying to a reluctant leader: “Well, just get over yourself. This is not just about you. This is about leading, and communicating well. It’s about having the greatest impact on the most people using the tools that are available to you. Your team and your organization could benefit so much from a successful online strategy. And what you’re telling me is that you don’t want to grow anymore. You’re done.” I’m not sure I would recommend this approach to everyone, but in this case, I got through.

Your opinion of the social media dynamics is, well, irrelevant. That’s how the game is being played right now. It’s the cost of relevance, the language of culture–the new global culture. The longer leaders go without embracing their online communication strategy, the more difficult their entrance into it will be. Sooner or later they will join the conversation, or they’ll abdicate their position to someone else who’s willing to do it. If they’re smart, they’ll make it sooner.

Am I being unreasonable?

  • Well , I have a point, every one who publishes content on the social media do it for many reasons, the main reason is to try to express their "self" . But some "personal brands" might not be exact replicas of their "personal life", and they are not really able to produce good stuff to be published…
    They feel insecure and they need help to accomplish it even being comunicators…

    • Often times just knowing the heart of a leader is the best for the organization and its followers.

  • Bert

    Strong Maurillio! You have challenged me to do a better job with my social media opportunities.

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  • No, you are not being unreasonable.

    I was not an early adopter of Twitter (thought it was stupid), but I cannot imagine pastoring now without communicating through Facebook, blog posts, e-newsletters, text messaging, and, yes, Twitter.

    This is how many (most?) of my people talk to each other. I want to lead the conversation, not be left out of it.

    • I'm glad you joined the conversation. I'm enjoying our digital conversation.

  • It’s really not an option anymore for those that want to be more effective in what they do. I think the term social media is a mental block for some that resist. Social Media is about building a personal brand that others can follow, learn from,
    and become successful. The benefits of both are the people you meet along the way!

  • L Lindquist-Bishop

    Right on brother! I've done the same thing.
    The train has left the station and is accelerating daily.
    Either they get on – or continue to send their mail pony express (though the horse is almost dead too)

  • AMEN! (and get out of my head!)!/chasingphoto/status/3029796

  • You are always unreasonable…that doesn't mean you are wrong.

    • And you're always funny, even when you're wrong. 🙂

  • Susan Wilkinson

    I do not think you're being unreasonable. I am not the owner of a business (yet), but after some initial reluctance I joined fb and Twitter because I understand that to do what I want to do as a communicator, I have to play the game. It definitely can be difficult for introverts like me though.

    It also takes a lot more time than I have seen estimated. If you want to engage with others you have to take the time to know something about them and that means reading what they have say. Social media is about relating through reading and writing and that takes time, especially in the beginning. Much of the reading you do will not result in communication because with the reading comes a process of sorting who you want to talk to and who you don't.

    I've read a lot of posts about the necessity of social media but I've seen very few blog posts that really give nice instructions on how to sort through it all in a time-managing and effective way (it's easy to get sucked into the vortex and become only a consumer), how to more quickly figure out who follow, how not to get your feelings hurt when you speak to yourself for the first month or more, and mostly how to find those who might be interested in what you have to say (it's not always easy to find your Tribe even when you know who they are).

    I'd say more, but my Twitter stream is racing by. 😉

    • Thanks for being transparent, Susan. Welcome to the conversation.

  • Lol…right on. I was that guy maybe 2 years ago. Swore I'd never use Twitter. But here I am. Still don't have much to say tho 🙂

    Launching a business any day now, so that should change soon!

    • Excited about your new business venture. Keep us posted.

  • You're absolutely right. Some leaders are hesitant to embrace social media because it requires them to change their thoughts and behaviors. What a great, pointed response!

  • The sad thing is that a lot of leaders and pastors will "embrace" social media by registering a facebook account and posting on it once a week. If you want to truly connect with people, you need to meet them where they're at!

  • You are absolutely correct! I have a background in TV broadcasting and now serve as a freelancer and in a ministry. I saw the opportunity to propose a social media campaign for a well known organization holding a conference in my city and we're going for it. My general knowledge of social media is about to expand greatly! What a great challenge! I heard a statisitic that 70 million plus people 15-30 years old communicate via social media. Social Media isn't going way anytime soon. Jump in and use it for positive change. It's how people are communicating.

  • Yes, but you know about Moobs? Those would be man boobs.

  • Steve Shantz

    A leader told me recently that he is not into social media because "he wasn't interested in reading what someone had for breakfast". I tried to explain that I had not received those kind of posts in a long time and based on the people I follow, I've learned a lot of valuable information in my field while interacting with a community of fascinating people. He's still not into it. As someone who works in Technology, I'm often silent on social media because I feel I have nothing significant to contribute. Others have said it first and better. Maybe I could tell you what I had for breakfast?

    • Steve, I for one, would enjoy knowing what you had for breakfast. Some people have asked me why I have stopped posting pictures of my food on Twitter. Who knew that was so popular?

  • Yes, we want to know what Steve had for breakfast…

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  • preachersa2z

    Throughout he past week I have been running discussion about the place of digital exchange and social media within the context of church. The possibilities for truly open conversation are considerable :

  • I agree with your comment "This is not just about you. This is about leading, and communicating well". Leaders should use at least one social media tool to share their message and rally the troops. Especially if they are trying to reach our youth to thirtysomethings.

    However, let's not forget that Jesus Christ calls us to personal relationships in person as much as possible. Don't just blast out tweets and status updates. Don't be concerned about how many "followers" you have.

    Focus on turning eyes and hearts towards Jesus Christ with your tweets, posts and updates.

    I try to do this with my blog and Twitter tweets

  • You are absolutely right. Buy into the paradigm and you're roadkill. Those are your only options.

  • carltown

    Sorry – OR you are roadkill

  • You are dead on. And really another reason that I am so glad you are saying this is because leaders or speakers or influencers could look at this as a mentoring opportunity. Grab a young guy or gal who is using these tools and let them help you in exchange for some mentoring.

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  • eightyg

    Great post Maurilio! Lately I've been watching leaders around me go one way or another. Either engaging or not engaging in social media. In today's world It seems very obvious to me that engagement is required to effectively lead and those that don't engage are at a clear disadvantage.

    You inspired me to write about it as well. I quoted part of your post, hope you don't mind:


  • Pat Pope

    "Sooner or later they will join the conversation, or they’ll abdicate their position to someone else who’s willing to do it."


  • BOOM! This was awesome. Flagged as a favorite and saving in my back pocket as an Ace of Spades when I hear someone in business be reluctant about social media.

    Love that you were all "get over yourself". I think that advice applies in other areas of life as well. 🙂

  • Joseph

    Nail. On. The. Head.
    Get Over Yourself needs to be said way more often to many more people. That is what solves problems (or in this case gets someone connected).

  • Yep, good word. Making the transition to leading in the 21st century is tricky for many people.

    It's time for us to adjust how we spend our time in light of how culture has changed.

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  • Great article and SO on point.

    I have been advocating these past few years, whether you get it or not, social media is where your customers are, and if your not there, you had better get there and FAST. Surprisingly people did not learn from the whole "What's a web site? Oh.. I don't need one of those." To now, they couldn't be more irrelevant if they do not have a website. Social media is no different. Get on board, or fall behind, it's an easy choice.

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  • Anonymous

    Your most poignant point, “Well, just get over yourself,” is one that I had to embrace for myself. I always thought that I didn’t have enough time. Pretty surprising coming from a graphic designer, huh? I am an immigrant to the digital age and thought that I had embraced it fully. Yet what I realized is that it is moving faster than I could keep up. Who would have ever thought that email would get dated as a rapid form of communication so quickly?! It was hard to admit but I have to suck it up and move ahead or get left behind. Thanks for your post!

  • I think you are exactly right. The suspicion some church leaders have about social media as being “part of the culture” is true, too, but that’s not a reason to stay away – it’s a reason to dive in and use it for ministry. We’ve found that not only can we reach folks where they are at (online, on FaceBook, etc.) but also they can reach US more easily – and everyone benefits from that!

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