A story for the benefit of the new bloggers…
One of the strengths of my church (membership in the upper three digits) is that it doesn’t just put on Sunday service and then leave people to carve out their own connections. It actively encourages small groups. It recognizes that these bands of brothers/sisters, who walk with you and support you and fight for you, are everything to the believer as they navigate the narrow road.
I feel that it works the same for bloggers.
I’m currently in two Facebook groups for believing bloggers. The first is over 10,000 bloggers (not all active, of course) and is managed decently. Some good content there.
But the smaller one, with less than 200 bloggers, has blessed me far more.
The bloggers in that group know me. They’ve commented on my blog (and I on theirs) numerous times. We know each other’s stories, know what’s most on their hearts. We’ve played a role in bringing each other new audiences, catapulting each other to higher visibility in each others’ friend lists, lightening the need for that awful (but sometimes necessary) embarrassment of self-promotion.
Everyone in that group fills some role. We’ve got the two or three stalwart pastoral guys and the two or three straight-from-the-heart writers. There’s the one guy whose gift is to criticize others’ writings, keep us in line. There’s the elderly humorist and the bespectacled millennial social-awareness type. There’s the good-mom specialist, the marriage specialist, the anti-abuse specialist, the child-bereavement specialist, the handful of inspirational bloggers, and the one or two blunt Reformed gals who call out our worst flaws as believers.
I don’t know where I’d be without each one of them. A lot of us stepped out on the blogging road together, took our first steps side by side watching each others’ backs. This. Is. Fun. And sorely needed. We’re not meant to do the Christian life alone. So why do the Christian blogging life alone?
If you’re a new Christian blogger, it is essential for you to find such a small group, one small yet active enough that bloggers can learn each other and like/comment/share each other’s content without it turning into a second job. Start one yourself if needed. Facebook makes the best home for such groups.
A few suggestions:
1. Limit each poster to three links a week or something sensible like that. Otherwise some will dominate.
2. Specify the creeds you require each blogger to follow.
3. Within (2), allow a certain degree of denominational variety within the group. That includes the loud discernment type who thinks that’s a bad idea. Everyone’s got something valuable to say.
4. Be willing to accept criticism. You can’t be sharpened if you have thin skin. Especially in an environment like Christian teaching, even individual words do matter.
5. Know Facebook’s rules on sharing from each other’s pages. You don’t want to get shadowbanned or anything.
6. Make a certain commitment to sharing each other’s content on your own feed. Your feed may already be crowded, but consider how you would hope the others would treat you.
7. Pray for each other. I know it sounds a little weird to pray for strangers, but if you’re a blogger, you know how it is: a shared faith creates a certain camaraderie even amongst those who have never met in real life. The Spirit is not limited in this area. This can be great.
8. Whatever you say, be kind.