Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why the Word “Platform” Makes Me Cringe a Little


I keep hearing that word. And every time I hear it, or read it, I cringe a little. In his book, Platform, Michael Hyatt says that “a platform is the thing you have to stand on to get heard.” He then notes that “today’s platform is built of people”.

That bothers me.

It causes my stomach to churn because of who it makes me as a writer. Not to mention what it makes you the audience. I don’t like calling my readers a platform. For one, I’m not a product. Secondly, you aren’t something that I desire to step on in order to be heard.

Once I begin viewing my readers as a platform it changes the questions that I ask. As I sit down to my keyboard, I want my controlling thought to be “will this build them up?” I don’t want my driving question to be, “will they promote this?” My goal is to build others up through my writing in such a way that they make Christ the only boast of this generation.

Yet, here’s the difficulty. And this is what Michael Hyatt is saying in Platform. How will I be able to build others up in Christ if I am never heard? That is why I need a platform. One of the tricky things to navigate, as a Christian using Web 2.0, is the fine line between standing on a platform that people built for you and standing on people as your platform.

My philosophy for navigating these tricky waters is simple, but hopefully not simplistic . It seems to be working…slowly but surely. Make it your aim to help people by pointing them to Jesus. Work really hard to love and serve your readers. Spend more time serving your readers and less time pimping your articles. If you love them and serve them they will come! And they’ll start bringing their friends too.

Though there are probably ways to create higher platforms and gain a wider reach in a shorter time, I am convinced that the best way to truly be heard is to think about your readers first and your platform much later.

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