In the world of book publishing, authors are required to have a platform that will encourage readers to buy their books. Simply put, a platform is how people know you – your expertise, experience, contact base, popularity, record of activity in the public realm. It’s how you reach out to others to get your message across and that’s why its called a platform.
I’m an author and, thank God, I have a platform that publishers feel is adequate for publishing my books.
But, even if I didn’t have a public platform, I’d have a private one.
So do you, no matter who you are or what you do.
Your platform is the way people know you and how you reach out to others. It’s the stage from which you communicate to the world. Whether you realize it or not, you have a platform and you use it every single day around the clock.
The question, then, isn’t whether you have a platform but rather how you use it.
There’s an awful lot of turmoil in the world right now – from devastating natural disasters to confusion in the Church to political divisions and threat of nuclear war. There’s a lot going on, and tensions are rising.
[bctt tweet=”The question isn’t whether you have a platform, but how you use it.” username=”MargeFenelon”]
It’s being made worse by folks who are using their platforms to elevate the tensions even more, particularly those in the public arena. There are many using their platforms to entice people to further rage and conflict or seem to believe that their platforms give them the right to verbally destroy others. Those platforms are used as weapons, and that’s dangerously close to sinfulness.
Every platform was given by God and has a God-given purpose. Whether you’re an author, speaker, media host. blogger, physician, or cashier at a grocery store, you have a platform that has been given to you by God. He expects you to do good with it.
It’s time to rethink how we’re using our experience, contact base, popularity, activity, opinions, and influence.
For example, instead of using our social media accounts to round up hateful comments to “prove” a differing political/religious opinion wrong – as I’ve recently seen done on Facebook – why not gather comments of hope in God? Or how better to live the faith in these tough times?
Everything we say and do becomes part of the platform that we present to others. No matter what we do or say or how we do or say it, it has consequence on the world around us. Therefore, we must put great thought and prayer into what we project on that platform before we put it out there. Because once it’s out there, it’s too late to call it back.
It seems, I fear, that we all too often use our platforms to withhold, rather than to extend, charity.
St. John Vianney once said,
All our religion is but a false religion, and all our virtues are mere illusions and we ourselves are only hypocrites in the sight of God, if we have not that universal charity for everyone – for the good, and for the bad, for the poor and for the rich, and for all those who do us harm as much as for those who do us good.
Our platforms need to be a way to raise others up to God and not a means by which we trample and beat them down. This isn’t some random thing that’s out of our control. We have a choice about how we’ll act, react, what words we’ll speak and which ones we’ll type into our keyboards. Those in the limelight have an even heavier responsibility to consider what messages they’re sending and how they’re coming across to others. Our minds and bodies were given to us in order to do good in this world, not to generate malice.
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more. (Lk 12:48)
You see, when our time on this earth is over, God won’t be asking us how big or powerful our platforms were; he’ll be asking us how we used them.
You have a platform. Use it well.