When you read through the Biblical books of 1 & 2 Kings (and 1 & 2 Chronicles come to that) it becomes clear that those Kings who we read about fall pretty much into one of two categories: those that did good in the sight of the Lord and those who did evil.
It seems to reinforce the idea that in order to be noticed you must be extraordinary or at the extreme ends of a particular spectrum. I’ve heard similar arguments about being online. Drawing attention to yourself is apparently important online. It’s all about the hits after all. If you don’t believe me why do media companies spend so much energy trying to get us to use their hashtag or make their video go viral?
If you run a blog or a website I would wager that you get a fair amount of spam regarding improving your Google rankings. If you are on Twitter or Facebook you may have been tempted to look into something like Klout – until you realise it doesn’t really measure anything important. It’s all about the hits, it’s all about making our mark, standing out from the crowd, being noticed.
Or is it?
Amidst all this clamour to be noticed we can overlook the fact that, as Christians, we are supposed to show humility not self-promotion. It’s a tricky balance to get right though because on the one hand your blog post may help someone a great deal but on the other if they never find out about it, how can it help them? So how do we let them know without hiring a aircraft towing a banner?
Here’s a suggestion: when you write that blog post, announce it – perhaps twice – and then let the online world do its thing and pass it around. Having said that, if somebody has shown a direct interest in your posts on a subject matter I think it’s okay to let them know there’s a new one – with the caveat that they can always ask you to stop bothering them. It’s wise to be cautious about self-promotion but don’t let that cripple any good your work might achieve without you.
But aside from all of this we should not forget that the thing which helps people more often than not is not a blog post or a tweet with an out-of-context quote but showing somebody you care. Recently a friend of mine tagged me in a post on Facebook saying a children’s book I wrote was “a cracking yarn for kids”. I was touched he thought so but it was the fact that he mentioned me as “an extremely good friend” which lifted my day more. Small things matter and they are the things that really cause you to make your mark.