I remember how excited I was when I first joined Facebook. After I made my profile I went searching for all my friends, eager to add them. It only took a minute or two to find them all. There were only a few. I remember feeling a little let down. All my friends have hundreds of friends of their own. I only have a few. Today I have 130 friends, which may sound like a lot, but by Facebook standards, is not that many. One of my friends has 228 friends on Facebook – and she only joined a few months ago.
At first it mattered a lot to me. I felt a little left out, to be honest. I wanted to be “as good as” everyone else – as if such things can be measure in friends lists, likes, or comments. The other day I was thinking about this blog, with its 33 real followers (the counter says 163, but the rest are my Facebook friends who automatically see this content whether they want to read it or not) and limited scope. For a moment I felt a little lost in the minutia of such a small blog in such a big blogosphere. I thought, do I want to be popular? Immediately, I knew that’s not what I wanted. I am an introvert, after all. But platform, that’s a word I could relate to.
We all want a space where people will hear what we have to say, but what do we want to do with it? Is it for fame or popularity? Or is it for a platform to shout something important?- Something outside of ourselves?
A platform is a place, with an audience, where I have the freedom to say unpopular things. Things like #BlackLivesMatter or Jesus is the Son of God. If I was worried about popularity, I couldn’t say those things. If I wanted more followers, I would have to cater to my audience and worry about what they want to hear. But a platform is a place to speak about the things I think God has laid on my heart. Sometimes everyone will like what I have to say and follow this blog. Sometimes they will not.
But beyond the blog, or the social media accounts, I think we all have platforms. Our lives are a platform. We are all walking, talking billboards for something. If we’re focused on popularity, though, we miss the chance to share deeply with those around us. When we’re worried about numbers we forget about people. As a platform, instead, we choose what we present as a way to reach out to those around us. And I think that’s the best PR strategy we can find.