I'M NOT A MACHINE I AM A PERSONOver the past few months I have spent a lot of time trying to understand social network marketing. In doing a lot of reading, checking out how people relate directly to me via social media I have come across a few behaviours I don’t particularly enjoy. I do always try to remember that I too need to walk the talk. I wouldn’t list any  negative behaviours that I participate in as that would simply be hypocritical.

Now I understand that people use platforms like this one because they seek engagement to advance their own cause. Nothing wrong with that. I won’t lie, I have some agendas of my own. The thing is how we go about this. Let me dig into my main pet hate on social media.


I’m an avid Twitter user, but I’ve noticed that many users are using automation. I do use a very small measure of automation, but I have avoided automating my tweets. Tweets become like spam, when I see the same tweet over and over again on my feed it does get annoying. Automation can work, but my goodness don’t kill us with the same tweet over and over for sometimes weeks. I do have direct messaging automated for any new follower, but that’s as far as it goes. 


Automation kills any level of being real or even sincere. I for one don’t want to feel like I’m engaging with a machine. Engaging a machine is cold, there is not heart. It is absent of any real human emotion. When you begin to give yourself over to automation you begin to give away your soul. Yes it is convenient, yes it can be very practical, but it is absent of the one thing all people long for, and that is real human interaction. 


Why do people love Starbucks so much? I believe it is the experience of going there. It’s the banter that goes on before you eventually get your coffee. It’s called authentic human interaction. But here comes a problem. When do you most feel like the authentic real side of your interaction with another person is going nowhere? WHEN IT LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE ONLY INTERESTED IN ME TO FURTHER YOUR OWN INTERESTS. 

People can see right through that. I’m a pastor and let me tell you it often happens in church settings. What happened to SINCERITY? We sometimes feel like stepping stones, a means to an end. It really does happen! Automation couldn’t reinforce this argument any more. Automation is saying; “I don’t really have the time to talk to you directly” The underlying message is YOU ARE NOT IMPORTANT. I have taken a good look at email automation. Products like Mail Chimp and others. I have signed up with Mail Chimp only for some campaigns, but that’s as far as I will probably go. 


Personal engagement must be PERSONAL. Yes we understand that we have various personality types, but again I must say that at some basic level we all like person to person interaction. 


DIRECT MESSAGING is direct messaging for a reason. ‘Hey Nic, was just wondering…. ‘ Surely I would need to respond, as in me Nic!

When I recently signed up with Mail Chimp part of the signing up process was to prove that I wasn’t a machine. The irony is that mail automation is like being a machine. Well that depends on to what extent you use it. Now out of office replies are perfectly fine, BUT when you don’t reply to a DM let me say that you have committed a very big crime in the social networking world. Even worse is when you DM someone and then they reply, but you don’t bother to reply back! Hey but I’m sometimes so busy! You may just need to get a bit more organised. If you take the time to DM me and want me to be genuinely engaged then at least pay back some respect and do the same when I reply. DM is where no one else is looking. The only two people who can see DM is the sender and the receiver. Somehow we get a little less tidy in our replies when no one else is looking. On open chat forums, hey different story. I have noticed that some people internationally let you know on their bio that they don’t engage in DM. I would say that is completely fair. My argument here is simple, how you interact and engage with people behind the scenes is just as important as how you engage in the open. How genuine you are becomes very clear over here. A snub can be a snub, that’s life, but in terms of personal branding it can become damaging. 

In closing, I want to say this. No matter who you are in your social standing, just to pay everyone from any walk of life respect where ever you can, will go a long way. Slip ups do happen and we can all say; ‘That was me’ But being truly genuine and completely engaged with any person who took the time to talk to you about anything is a mark of true humanity. 

I’m not a machine, I’m a person and I welcome real, honest personal engagement. After that, maybe then we could look at a business deal or two.  

Nic is a Pastor at newDAY Church Johannesburg South Africa. All views are his own. Find him on Twitter @NicFester  www.nicfester.co.za for his art.


Pastor doing weird, dark art 

When I had my spiritual awakening I became a passionate Christian who loved God. Not only a Christian, but also a Christian who enjoys images, more so images that would cause you to think. Let me just get out there and say weird stuff! Okay, okay none of which were profane or outright sick, but just pure weird. Even as a pre-teen I had this weird Iron Maiden poster hanging in my room. I fondly remember a young cousin who reluctantly slept in my room when having sleep overs, all because of that very dark image. When you become a Christian, does it mean that you need to throw your personality away? Not at all. The things that intrigued me before I made a decision for Christ continued to intrigue me after my decision for Christ. What was sinful naturally began to be challenged, but things not sinful like some thought provoking images, challenging writing and ground breaking music kept it’s place. Giving yourself to Jesus doesn’t equate to losing your brain, or your natural desire to be challenged. The image of Jesus hanging on the cross is highly provocative. Jesus wasn’t someone who minced his words, in fact Jesus more often than not spoke in pictures. These pictures were stories that were designed to make you think. 

So the idea of a pastor doing art is one thing, but the idea that that pastor enjoys doing thought provoking art, with a sometimes dark or strange edge does somehow challenged conventional thinking. Christianity after all is about the light, not darkness and gloom. So does Christianity compel you to only recognize the light as if darkness didn’t exist? Not at all, otherwise the Bible would be absent of stories of the fall, or make no mention of Sodom and Gomorrah. What about the apocalypse? It just goes on and on. Darkness like pain and suffering does exist. Injustice, greed and perversion make up the reality of the world we live in. Likewise love, kindness and compassion.  Just as there are those doing wonderful random acts of kindness, there are those right now planning to carry out horrendous acts. 

As a Christian artist I want to say this, don’t pretend like everything is always fine. You aren’t expected to live like that. It is okay to acknowledge the pain that exists in this world. This isn’t permission to wallow in grief. Not at all! But for goodness sake stop acting like everything is always perfect, because it’s not. If you do art, maybe in the form of painting like me, or some other art like writing poetry, dancing or song writing it is okay to express darkness. May I say that it shouldn’t become your permanent departure point. That would be very sad! All I am really saying with this blog post is be real! There is certainly nothing wrong with that! If you are having a bad day you don’t need to pretend that it was great, but you always live in the hope of better days to come. 
Please visit my website http://www.nicfester.co.za to view some of my dark art. Paintings are on sale. If you like something let me know.