Going Viral?


Look at this picture of my dog looking handsome! He just got a haircut yesterday and he looks presentable for a change.

I know this is a random picture of my dog, but I share it to talk about "going viral". It is quite possible that I could share this photo of my dog, attach the right hashtags, and share it publicly for it to be seen by the thousands or perhaps millions! It could also only be seen by 50 people.

Going viral can be a bit of a mystery. Granted, there are people that professionally work as an influencer, YouTuber, or are already famous in some capacity that can easily go viral. Either their fame or dedicated efforts and strategies lead to them getting more and more looks.

In no way am I interested in being a full-time influencer, professional YouTuber, or famous in any capacity. However, I do enjoy creativity, as well as sharing fun, humorous, and encouraging content. Ultimately, I love using social media to connect with family and friends around the world and to profess the love and truth of Christ.

With that said, I've had some interesting interactions via my social media platforms recently that have led me to be more "strategic" when I share. Why be more strategic? Because you never know when you might go viral. Anything and everything you share online can stick around FOREVER. It can stick around even if you delete it. So obviously, be careful about what you share. Also Christians, be strategic about what you share.

Over the last three months, I've had 2 videos on my YouTube channel go from around 1,000 views to over 40,000 views. Interestingly, both videos are over 9 years old. Neither video is overly complicated. 
They're both just silly and random videos that I made with little to minimal effort. I honestly forgot that they were even on my YouTube channel. 

Its funny, because I have so much other content on my page that I've put way more effort, man-hours, and passion into and they don't even have 2% of the views these others have. 

I started an Instagram page to document my running ventures and passion. Its called The Running Chap. The goal of the page is to connect with other runners, encourage fellow runners and newbies in their running goals, and to be an encouraging light of Christ to a community in which I naturally connect but isn't necessarily filled with Christ-followers.

On The Running Chap I've uploaded several Reels, which are essentially short videos. Most of the Reels have over 3000 views. One has over 6000. In fact, I put a few of the Reels on my YouTube channel and one has over 4000 views there. (How Morning Runners Wake Up)
Oddly enough, I only started the running IG page in late January and I've already amassed nearly 1500 followers. 

I share none of this to brag or impress anyone. Its all dumb luck if I'm being honest. And, in the grand scheme of things, my views are nothing compared to the professionals which amass millions and billions of views, subscriptions, and follows.

However, sharing a message or content with several thousand people is nothing to ignore. Sharing a message with one person is nothing to ignore. If we are given any type of platform, we should be intentional and strategic about how we use that platform.

Here's what I've learned and what I'm working to do to be more strategic:

1. Niches Matter: I've written books. I have a FB Author Page that shares daily devotions but also advertises my books. Honestly, out of the 1,400 followers, only about 50 people actually interact with the page. I've also had that page for about 8 years. In 2 months, I've gotten more followers on my running IG and have way more content interaction on a daily basis than I do with my FB author page.


Because, my running IG is connecting with a community of other runners. Sure, I could make an author IG page and probably get the same amount of followers in a short time as my run IG, but the focus would be different. If I just reached out to the author niche, the page would be focused on swapping strategies with other authors and celebrating each other's successes. It wouldn't help me sell any more books than I am now. My goal with the author page is to connect with people that actually want to read my content and help me promote my books. I genuinely want people to read my books, because I share the hope of Jesus Christ in all of them.

My running IG goal is different. I'm not trying to sell anything. I am trying to swap strategies with other runners and celebrate their successes. However, with both pages, my ultimate goal is to encourage people and be the love and light of Christ while sharing His truth.

2. People Like It Brief: Brevity matters. People are so inundated with content that they will drop your video or long post like a sack of potatoes if it doesn't capture their interest quickly. 

Also, many people like pictures over words. Chances are, many people that read your posts will look at your picture and move on without reading your caption. 

You gotta learn how to say a lot quickly and sometimes with mostly pictures or short video clips. In fact, FB and IG stories are becoming the norm over traditional posts.

3. Consistency Matters: One negative or emotional tweet can kill an opportunity for influence. You might say, "I don't care about influencing". Well, if you're a child of God, you should at least care about your influence enough to understand that you can use it to point people to Jesus. Sure, we all have bad days and I would never encourage you to be unauthentic in your posting. However, think strategically. Don't just think about how your closest friends and family will receive your posts. Consider the masses. Again, you never know when you might go viral. Also, you never really know who is paying close attention to your content.

Now, I'm not writing this post as an expert in social media use. I'm not writing this to encourage you to use more social media. If you need less of it or none of it in your life, by all means...DROP IT!

I write this to encourage you to be strategic. As a follower of Jesus, I want to be strategic in all facets of my life. I want to share the gospel so that people will hear it. I don't want to do anything that keeps people stumbling over and missing the message. While I may just want to share a photo of my wife, kids, my latest run, or a clever tweet about sports, I have to ultimately think about what I am using that mode of communication to do. Am I trying to connect to a niche so that I can be the light of Christ in that community? Am I being consistent, so that people see the joy of Jesus in my life through everything I share? Am I sharing the message and sharing it in an effective way? Am I pontificating too much or belittling others? Am I sharing the simplicity of the gospel so that people will hear it?

I pray over the content I post. I want to it to connect because I enjoy the things that I enjoy and I love people. But most importantly, I want to connect so that I can share Jesus' love with the world.

Social media is far from perfect, but it is a platform regardless of how many friends or followers you have. What will you say with your megaphone?

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