I remember sitting in the ballroom at the Sheraton at Keyston Crossing in Indianapolis during the first session at Influence Conference last October. I was soaking it all in.
The friendships that had developed over twitter and e-mail – they were real friendships.
The stories I’d been reading – they were real stories, and now I was becoming a tiny part of so many stories.
The blogger fashion I’d been following – there it was in front of me, in all of its stripes-loving, skinny jean-wearing, chambray-clad, top-knot-flaunting glory.
I sat there sipping my coffee, taking notes like a crazy person, trying to glean wisdom from everything Tiny Twig had to say. Hayley shared a lot of great information that morning. So much blogging strategy that I couldn’t keep up with my note taking!
But the one thing that burned into my mind that day was when she talked about forming alliances. She said,
“Forming alliances online is easy, but dissolving them is hard. We must be very cautious who we form online alliances with, and who we share our influence with.”
She went on to explain that who we associate with online impacts our “brand” and reputation as bloggers. Sometimes in an obvious way, but sometimes it’s more subtle.
I still can’t shake the feeling I had listening to those wise words nearly three months ago.
I’ve been a part of the blogging community for about a year and a half. In that year and a half I’ve formed very real and lasting friendships, most notably with my Bloggy BFF Tricia at Mama Marchand’s Nest.
When The Professor and I visited Tricia and her family last July, one of the things I remember noticing about her is that she is exactly who she says she is online. She’s transparently true to herself. Her blog reflects who she is in real life.
That’s a rare trait.
In the last year and a half I’ve also learned that some people are not who they claim to be online. In all truth, most of us probably aren’t exactly who we say we are online – myself included. I rarely write about the fact that my floors get swept maybe twice a month – and I have three indoor animals, so the hair and dirt piles up. No one likes to air their dirty laundry on the internet, and I am no exception.
But I learned that some writers create a sort of alias for themselves on their blogs. Who they are on their blogs does not really represent who they are in their day-to-day lives. It’s almost as if who they are on their blog is who they want to be, not who they actually are. And I can’t help but wonder if they’re leading their followers on a journey of deceit. And that hurts my heart.
Friends, I cannot over stress how important Hayley’s words of wisdom and truth are. I think every single blogger needs to hear them. We must take our discernment to a whole new level when it comes to building relationships, forming alliances, online. For Christian bloggers, we must weigh each other’s content against the standard of the Word of God. If what we say does not line up with the Bible, we are misleading our readers.
The Word of God tells us that “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17.) Have you ever thought about what that means? Sharp iron is useful. Sharp iron is valuable because it can be sold and used as a tool. Let’s be intentional to seek out online relationships that sharpen us, that make us useful, and that give us worth.
download 5×7 printable here
And when we recognize that an alliance needs to be broken, let’s do it with grace. So much grace that no one even knows it happened. Breaking alliances does not mean bringing other people down. It doesn’t mean we announce to the world that they’re a fake and need to be called out for what they are. It doesn’t mean we write subtle (or not so subtle) blog posts about our bad experience. It doesn’t even necessarily mean that a friendship has ended.
It’s just a quiet, grace-filled, strategic move that is very intentional on our part, but is not necessarily obvious to everyone who follows our story.
Grace upon grace upon grace. We need a little more of that in the online world. And in real life too.
Are you ready to be an inspiration? (To find out the purpose of this linky, please read this post.)
- Please visit the others who link up and leave kind, encouraging words for them. Don’t have a lot of time to read them all? Visit the person who linked up before you.
- If you tweet about linking up, please use the hashtag #desiretoinspire
- Link up your own quality, read-worthy posts.
- Focus on how you can be an inspiration, not what inspires you.
- You do not have to follow ARD, but of course I’d love it if you would.
- Link up your specific posts, not your blog’s homepage.
- Please do not link up giveaways, blog/social media hops, or shops.
- Please link back to A Royal Daughter in your post (using the button below, or a text link back) or add this linky party to your linky party list.
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Challenges Q & A with Growing Up A Thomas
ARD: As a blogger, what is your biggest challenge for growing your community, and how do you deal with it?
GUAT: I think the biggest challenge when trying to grow community is balancing the quality vs. quantity aspect of blogging. In order to grow community, you need to to post on a very frequent basis. However, I think that a genuine community thrives on quality posts which may not always happen when you are posting frequently. I want to bring my readers good, thought-provoking writing which means that some days there are no posts. And it’s hard to grow your blog when you aren’t posting – make sense? I still really haven’t found the answer I guess!