What Is a ‘Tweeter’ and Why Should It Matter?

Marty DurenI must confess. When Twitter first appeared on the internet and a few of my friends were talking about it, I did not get it. I was already a blogger with scores of lengthy posts written. The idea of “micro-blogging” in 140 characters made no sense at all.

Regardless, I opened a Twitter account just to check the fuss. It seemed really, really dumb – a bunch of people talking about what they had for lunch, going to the gym, washing smelly socks. The entire thing seemed like a waste of time.

Fast forward a few years and things have changed dramatically.

News sources regularly get breaking stories from Twitter or other social media. Recently a major broadcast and online news agency announced the layoffs of more than two dozen photographers, opting to use “crowd-sourced” photography. That means they follow social media, especially Twitter, to capture photos being uploaded by Smartphone owners in the middle of the event.

Major news events broken on Twitter include the landing of US Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson River in New York City and the discovery of ice on Mars. Helicopters involved in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden were heard and tweeted about by Sohaib Athar in Abbottabad, Pakistan. There are many other examples.

Pastors and theologians also have taken to Twitter to spread inspirational thoughts, scripture, leadership principles, opinions and the like. An article in the New York Times* recently provided examples showing how well-known pastors and Bible teachers have more influence on Twitter than some movie or music celebrities.

Across the Southern Baptist Convention (and other denominations) pastors, professors, theologians, entity heads and church members are tweeting. Everything important to the Christian life: instruction, encouragement, exhortation and, occasionally, rebuke, takes place on Twitter. Far from being a waste of time, it is a tool of great potential.

If you are not yet using Twitter for communication with your friends, family and church, you can easily sign up in about three minutes. Use the search function to find people to “follow” (have their tweets come to your feed), and you’re on your way.

As you interact, people will follow you. Publish your Twitter name (“handle”) in your church bulletin and website so all your members will follow you. Your influence will grow and the body of Christ will benefit as you share biblical wisdom, observations and interests.

* “Twitter Dynamos, Offering Word of God’s Love,” June 2, 2012

By Marty Duren, Communications Department

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