Everyone has been talking about Twitter. It’s everywhere. So much so that I’m starting to get a little sick of it myself, and when I hear people talk about Twitter too much, I kind of wince a little bit and want to roll my eyes. That being said, I’m going to talk about Twitter.
Allow me to give a little disclaimer as I begin, though: I am no expert. I’ve been using it now for about three months. I’ve been more into Facebook
, but since everyone talked about it so much, I decided I had to jump in and see what the fuss was about.
In my research into Twitter, I came across an ebook called The Reason Your Church Must Twitter
. Not wanting to get left behind, I decided to see if the book could give me some really good reasons of why I should Twitter. It gave a few.
I’ll give a blow-by-blow on some of the chapters.
Chapter 1: Twitter as a Megaphone
In this chapter he describes the utility of the text messaging feature. I can create a Twitter account for my church, and send all those that are “following” a message (tweet) that they can receive via text message on their phones. So this becomes a quick and easy way to send out announcements or really important messages since most people have cell phones. He takes it a step further, though, to say that different ministries in the church can create their own accounts, and have people sign up specifically for the ministry that they’re interested in hearing from.
Here are some examples of tweets you might send to those following your particular ministry or team:
Is a home group meeting in another person’s house this weekend? send an update to the small group members.
Is there a leadership meeting this weekend? Send a reminder and asked people to @reply with a confirmation.
Do you need a few more volunteers for the Habitat for Humanity project? Ask for volunteers and link to an online signup form.
This does seem like a good feature to use and I could imagine using this.
Chapter 2: Twitter as a Conversation
In this chapter the author gets into how Twitter can help to build community and conversations through answering the “what are you doing?” line. If you’re familiar with Facebook at all, it’s the same as the status update. So through seeing what other people are doing, you can engage each other in conversation and dialogue. From my perspective, though, Facebook is much better at this than Twitter. In Facebook, someone can talk about what they’re doing or share a link, and people can easily makes comments and it’s easy to track the conversation on the given topic. For example, I recently posted a question I had on Facebook, and had over 30 people respond. And because all of the responses are listed, people could engage each other on their responses. On Twitter I find this to be very difficult, if not impossible. If you just want to get an answer from someone, sure, it’s easy….but to actually dialogue on Twitter-much more difficult.
What is easier to do on Twitter, as noted in the chapter, is sharing information, links, and pictures. He says, “My personal favorite is Twitpic. This free service lets you share pictures directly from your cell phone camera by automatically creating a link when you upload the picture to Twitpic.” This is a nice feature and I use it quite often.
Chapter 3: Twitter for Pastors
Here he makes the case that it’s good for pastors to be on Twitter for the sake of transparency, which helps your people to get to know you better and to build trust. Through sharing little glimpses of your life, you help people get to know you and to relate to you better. He also states that it’s good to follow people that you want to learn from and get to know better.
I definitely agree with this. I feel like Facebook and Twitter (I have my accounts synced so that I only have to update my Twitter and it automatically updates my Facebook at the same time) have helped me to connect better with my own congregations. I also follow quite a few different pastors and leaders to learn from them and get to know them better. And it’s worked. Often they’ll share great insights on things, or great links to websites that could be of help to other people.
Chapter 4: Setting Up Twitter In Once Minute Or Less
This is a basic walk though of how to sign up. If you’re already on Twitter, you can skip this section. If you’ve never been on it, you may be able to find some use in this chapter.
Chapter 5: How to Tweet
Here he gets into the basics of how to send a tweet, reply, and direct message someone. Twitter does not have the most intuitive interface or commands, so this may be of good use. So he introduces some of the basic commands on how to do these things. He also gives a primer on some of the other good 4rd party apps out there for using Twitter such as TweetDeck (on your computer) or Tweetie (on your iPhone).
Chapter 6: To Follow and be Followed
Chapter 7: Making Twitter Easier
Chapter 8: Churches Using Twitter
Chapter 9: Cautions and Unexpected Bonuses
Chapter 10: Deciding on a Twitter Strategy
Chapter 11: Learning From Each Other
The rest of the chapters (6-11) were also quite basic, walking you through simple explanations of how to do things. Chapter 8 gives a listing of various pastors and churches that you might consider following, for example.
So do I think it was worth $5? Sure. The first few chapters are the most useful and giving some interesting strategies and ways of using it. But if you’ve been using Twitter for awhile, you probably wouldn’t have read anything new at all.
Here are some other recent and good posts about why you should and shouldn’t use Twitter:
So what do you think? Are you on Twitter? Have you used it? What uses are you finding for it in your ministry or organization? In case you’re wondering, you can find me on www.twitter.com/rodlie
And in case you haven’t seen this video on Twitter, check it out. It’s a funny and sarcastic look at Twitter: