I read this interesting post in the NY Times the other day about an exodus taking place on Facebook. It seems that there’s a wave of people that have been leaving for various reasons. Some are just getting tired of their shiny new toy. Others are wary of all the personal information that Facebook and it’s zoo of different applications seem to swallow.
The Value of Twitter vs. Facebook
I have to agree with them on quite a few levels.
Yet, at the same time, my interest and appreciation of Twitter has been growing. Here’s why.
1. Learning and Mentoring
Where else can you have access to the musings and mentoring of high caliber leaders? This is the great difference between Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is for those you know. Twitter is for those you’d like to learn from. In a sense, I see it as being more professional. The leaders there aren’t necessarily sharing information about things they’re doing in their day. Some leaders never share that kind of information. Instead, many share links to valuable resources, quotes, and things of interest to them personally.
Here are some examples:
Steven Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church, a young and fast growing church running around 5,000 in attendance in three locations at the moment. He consistently shares challenging and helpful thoughts.
Rick Warren, of course…well who doesn’t know Rick Warren? Founding pastor of Saddleback Community church and author of Purpose Driven Life. A man with an enormous wealth and breadth of experience, which he shares daily. They’re like mini sermons. Actually, most of his “tweets” are great outlines for simple sermons.
And there are a ton of other leaders out there just like him in your particular field. I’m currently following 109 pastors, leaders, CEO’s and others.
2. Special Opportunities
For whatever reason, these same leaders are opening up special opportunities, especially on Twitter. Take these tweets, for example:
For those that don’t know Dr. Ed Stetzer, he’s the president of LifeWay Research. Along with Thom Rainer, they’re experts in most things church. Well, yesterday I noticed this particular tweet. He opened himself up for free coaching to pastors of smaller churches for 90 minutes. How cool is that?
I see opportunities like that arise fairly often. A few months ago, as a result of a tweet by Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, I was able to get a free book and enter into a program where I can receive some free books on a regular basis.
A few days ago, I noticed that Ryan J Bell, pastor of the Hollywood Adventist Church in Hollywood, California was vacationing fairly close to where I live. His church is becoming well known for their “incarnational” forms of ministry (feeding homeless, helping the poor, education). As a result of that tweet we were able to meet up and he was able to share with me in person more about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.
And if I hadn’t been on Twitter, I wouldn’t have found out about these two great and free leadership conferences: The Nines and The National Leadership Forum.
3. Immediate Information
Twitter is fast becoming a source of breaking news. Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, one of the premier tech blogs out there shares in this post why he thinks it’s a great source of breaking news. And I’ve been able to see this myself.
I recently read that EE Cleveland, a pastor, evangelist, and civil rights leader passed away recently. I wanted to get more information on the topic, so I turned to the Twitter search function to see what people were saying. Here are some of the results of that search. The reason you can get more immediate information through twitter is that Google doesn’t immediately index information that someone might have posted. They’re working on getting faster, but at the moment Twitter trumps it by a mile.
A few months ago, when I wanted to get some breaking info on the newest iPhone software upgrade, I didn’t turn to Google, but to Twitter. I went on there because I wasn’t able to connect to the serve to upgrade, and I thought that Apple had postponed the upgrade. Upon doing a search on Twitter, I found that many people at first also thought that the upgrade had been postponed. But by the minute, I could see the tide-turning, and people beginning to trickle in with more information about what was happening. It would have been impossible to get this kind of immediate information any other way.
By the way, I know many people that are turned off by technology just rebuff stuff like this by saying, “I don’t have time for stuff like that,” seemingly implying that it’s a waste of time and that they focus on much more important matters. I would say two things. For one, it doesn’t have to take a long time. I spend no more then 15 minutes a day on Twitter. I check it on my iPhone and can quickly scroll through 150 or so tweets. Secondly, if you don’t have time for leadership development and to learn, where are you spending your time?
Will you live if you’re not on Twitter? Of course. It’s just a tool like any other. But it’s a tool that I’m really being blessed by and recommend you check it out.
What has been your experience with Facebook vs. Twitter?