twitter_fail_whalePosted by Mike Foster: Follow Mike on Twitter Here

I shared this last week with the staff at Central Christian Church and thought I would share here on the blog.

Many critics believe social media is a narcissistic and a self serving waste of time.

Using tech to brag about your accomplishments, pimp your stuff non-stop, or believing everything that pops in your head is important is...totally arrogant.

But I believe technology is neutral. It is neither a positive or a negative. What we as people do with the technology is what gives it value. Its like a brick. You can throw it through a window or you can build a house. Your choice.

So before I continue with this post, let me make a personal confession. I know I'm totally guilty of tooting my own horn and letting my own arrogance creep into my daily tweets and Facebook posts. Guilty as charged.

Though that is true, I do my best to operate under the social media concept of...TWEET TO THE BROKEN.

10 years ago I got this great nugget of advice from a mentor. He said to "preach to the broken." I've hung onto to those words for a decade and that nugget still drives how I approach any audience that I may be communicating with.

Social media is communication to an audience and I do my best to incorporate this concept into my online world.

So how do you tweet to the broken? Here are some practical things I try to do.

1. I FOLLOW BACK. It's a small way I can communicate to others that what they have to say is as important as what I have to say.

2. I RETWEET AND @REPLY PEOPLE WITH VERY FEW FOLLOWERS. I'm more interested in trying to place value on those just starting out or with a smaller audience. Pete, Los, CatalystLeader, and many others do it for me and I know I always appreciate it.

3. I WILL DM, TEXT, AND EMAIL PEOPLE A FEW WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT. I just want them to know I'm thinking about them and care about them. Especially if they are going through some difficult situation. I remember getting publicly hammered and criticized online and I will never forget the private communication that came in to voice support, prayers, and encouragement. It meant something to me so I hope my few words of encouragement means something to them.

4. WHEN I SHARE MY 140 CHARACTERS, I do my best to show some sense of my own broken life. I try to be honest with my lack of faith, my screw ups, and my uncertainties even in my "wise" proclamations and "insightful" statements. Some things I share are just plain stupid and I'm sorry about that. Unfortunately, I don't realize that until 2 days later.

5. I USUALLY LEAVE SMILEY FACES AT THE END OF MY TWEETS BACK TO PEOPLE. Why? Because I never want people to read anything I'm saying to them in a negative or harsh tone. I want them to know I love them, not judging them. I don't want to ever add to the ugliness of the web.

So I want to ask you to join me in this philosophy of "Tweeting to the Broken."

Maybe we as a community can commit to 10 tweets a week where we are loving on someone. Let's be helping the under dog. Let's pray for people and let them know we are thinking about them. Let's encourage the hurting and say a kind word to our followers. Let's redeem the technology.

And when we do this, we effectively kill our own self serving narcissism and silence the critics.

Would love to hear your thoughts and have you add some other tips we could do to help others through tech.

Btw, if you embrace the concept of Tweeting To The Broken, RT this.

Mike Foster