Something new and ground-breaking appeared in the world over the last decade, something that forever changed advertising, entertainment, and media. What is this world changing invention that altered virtually every aspect of modern-day communication? You might've already guessed it: social media.
Almost all of us actively use social media, passively have an account of some sort, or hear about things going on in social media from our peers.
When used well, social media has the power to instantly connect and engage people from around the world in ways previous generations never would have thought possible. Even if people are continents apart, they are still able to communicate, build relationships, and update one another in real time.
Social media is not a curse or a burden, it's a powerful tool, and if used correctly, you can use it to document your missions adventure and share the DTS experience with your family and supporters back home.
Instagram: Pictures tell stories.
People don't always have time to read a long blog post or caption. A picture, on the other hand, will immediately capture their attention. If you are trying to impact your supporters with limited time and resources, Instagram might be the best way to go. The platform encourages quick updates and visual storytelling. A picture can powerfully appeal to a person's emotions and make them feel as if they are standing in your shoes.
Make sure your pictures are quality. There are many free resources available to make your pictures look crisp and clean, such as VSCOcam and Prime.
Twitter: Short updates.
Avoid typing out a long journal entries detailing every aspect of your busy day. Instead, let people know how you are in 140 characters or less.
Twitter gives you the opportunity to share your thoughts, location and ministry updates, prayer requests, and links to longer blog posts. And with the click of a button, your followers can share your activity or needs with family members, friends, and other interested supporters.
However, don't waste those 140 characters on things that are controversial or irrelevant to your supporters. You want to keep it personal, but remember who your audience is. Maybe even make a separate account for your missions work.
Facebook Messenger: Easy international communication.
Back in 2011, Facebook released a new version of the already easy-to-use Facebook Messenger. With messenger, you can easily create groups and navigate messages much quicker than you could with email. Although we still recommend using email for newsletters, you could also consider creating a Facebook group just dedicated to your inner circle of supporters; there you can send out more specific, personal updates and prayer requests. However, keep in mind that group messages generate a lot of notifications and can be irritating to some people -- try to keep the group small and make sure you ask people before you invite them.
Facebook Messenger also gives you the ability to make international calls and video calls for free, so long as you have data or wifi. Whether you need to call your mom for advice, or you want to video chat a potential supporter and take them on a "firsthand" tour of the village or church you are staying in, don't forget to utilize these tools to stay in contact with the people who matter the most to you. For those of you who live outside of the US or have a lot of friends who do, consider downloading a similar application, "WhatsApp" for similar easy communication.
We hope these tips and tricks make your missionary life a little easier. Remember that your friends, family, and supporters want to see and hear about what you are doing. Make it easy for them to feel as if they are embarking on this adventure with you! In addition, by looking back on your social media posts, you will be able to remember and celebrate everywhere you went and everything God did through you.