Monday concluded my Tweet Weeks project, in which I sought to determine how Twitter could be most useful to me in my ministry context. Here are a few things I learned about the project, myself, and twitter as a ministry tool. It was more difficult than I thought it would be. Tweeting consistently over a period of two weeks got more and more difficult as the time progressed. I’m proud to say, however, that I started off strong, and finished strong (after slagging a bit in the middle). The first week was easier for me than the second, for the first reason given below.
- I realized I don’t think as many deep thoughts as I thought I would. Contrary to popular thought, pastors do not spew off wisdom effortlessly. I myself thought that I would have more significant reflections than I did. But I found it much easier to tweet what I was actually doing rather than some helpful bit of wisdom.
- I learned that there’s no need to stick to one way of tweeting. Both approaches to using twitter (what I’m doing vs. what I’m thinking) can be useful in ministering to my church and community. I can see how both could be used to teach, encourage, convict, and uplift. That being said…
- Tweeting for the sake of tweeting does not do any good at all. Some of my tweets over the past couple of weeks were simply not beneficial to anyone. For example, on May 1st I wrote, “Going to read a bit and go to sleep.” Who cares? What difference does this make? On the other hand, on May 10th I gave a quote from the book that I’m reading, and I think this was a much more beneficial way to use twitter (“My friends, pray to God for joy. Be joyful like children, like the birds.” – Elder Zosima, in “The Brothers Karamazov”).
- Quality of tweets is much more important than frequency of tweets. It’s much better to share one significant thought per day than fourteen insignificance ones. In fact, people will tune you out (or unfollow you) if you consistently share things that do nothing for them. Every tweet should accomplish some purpose other than simply bringing attention to myself.
- Twitter is most useful when remembering that it’s for mass, yet personal communication. Every tweet sent goes out to all of your followers, but don’t confuse this with other mass communication mediums. When each of your followers reads your tweet, they are not reading it as a message to the masses (unless the tweet is written as such), but rather as a message to them personally. That’s why they feel compelled to share the message. That’s why they want to respond to it. So I should always seek to keep my tweets as personal and pointed as possible.
What do you think? How do you use twitter? Do you have a strategy in your use of it, or do you just tweet whatever and whenever you feel like it?