Spiritual directors constantly weigh the pros and cons of marketing our service on the internet. As you can probably tell, I’m very pro marketing and encourage colleagues to use it in any way that suits them and honors the sacredness of the practice. Social media is one area that requires constant discernment for me. I waver between “use it, lose it, or abuse it.”
Yes, I’m on twitter (@teresa_blythe) mostly, and Facebook (facebook.com/phxcsd) now and then. And I have been fortunate to meet people on these social media platforms who wanted to learn more about spiritual direction; some have even become directees. I use these two platforms because I like them, they are popular and I see a lot of other spiritual directors using them, and I admit, I like to keep up with the Joneses. If you enjoy a platform and feel you can get your message across well, then definitely use it.
I have given up on Instagram (I don’t take that many photos), LinkedIn (I just don’t “get” it or enjoy it), and Tumblr (I stopped “microblogging” on Tumblr in order to blog on Patheos). Should we be on all platforms? No. Trying to reach potential clients by using all the many social media platforms will likely overwhelm you. That is a lot of posting! If I were to add another one, it would be Instagram — the most popular social media platform out there (for now). It’s great if you snap a lot of photographs or create little videos. And it draws a big audience because it’s so visual (and has the best pet videos of all the platforms!).
OK, here’s the deal. All of these are WAY too easy to abuse. I am shocked at how I can spend 2 hours on Twitter without even realizing 2 hours went by. It’s addictive. They all are. You may have already heard some of your directees talk about their addictions and unhealthy habits connected to social media. Because people tend to share their “Life is Wonderful” posts, social media can be dangerous for people pleasers and approval seekers. If you are predisposed to depression and anxiety, scrolling through all these photos of the beautiful life can be dangerous. I’m not making this up — there is science behind it (google it!). And then there are those people who share the intricate details of their personal flaws, mental illness or destructive habits — and I find that depressing as well. So, the biggest “con” about social media is the ease with which we can become addicted and depressed as a result of constant use.
Please feel free to share your social media use with me at the below email address. I consider it a constant learning experience.
Looking for More?
Want to try spiritual direction? I have openings in my schedule for new directees — regardless of where you live. I can work by phone, Skype or if you live in the Phoenix metro area we can meet in person. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.teresablythe.net.
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