Twitter for Ministry?

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on January 17, 2011

in Catholic, ministry, social media, Susan Wolf, Uncategorized

When I tell people that I really like Twitter, they sometimes look puzzled. I imagine that they are thinking—Are you crazy? How do you have time to spend on Twitter? I like Twitter because I can get the latest information, quick facts or leads on just about any topic or product that I want anytime I want. I have learned a lot about social media, current events, products, services, and Church activities from the people and organizations I follow on Twitter. I can also share my good news and expertise with them.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a micro-blog social network that allows you to post a message of up to 140 characters on your Twitter webpage anytime you want. The post is the micro-blog part. Then the social network part takes over.

Other people “follow” you on Twitter. Your post appears in their “home timeline” (a list of the most recent tweets of the people they follow). Conversely, the tweets of the people you are following appear in your Twitter home page timeline. You can retweet (RT) a message you see (thus posting it to the timelines of your followers) and you can reply to a message. You can also send private Direct Messages (DM) to people you follow that also follow you. So the basic activities on Twitter are post, read, retweet, reply and direct message—all in 140 characters or less.

Why do I use Twitter?

I use Twitter to keep up on topics that I am interested in. I do that by following people who tweet on those topics and by using the Twitter search function. I also use Twitter to share comments about and links to blogs, websites, and articles about using social media for ministry, inspiring stories, the good works of the Church and Catholics, and religious life. As I am researching info related to my ministry—I come across good information on these topics that I can quickly share with others on Twitter. And, in the interest of full disclosure, sometimes I use it to express my elation or frustration with one or more of the sports teams I am following.

What have I gained in using Twitter?

I have connected with people who share my passions. I have found experts in fields that I am interested in. I have been able to share my thoughts and findings with many people I never expect to meet in person. I have offered my prayers to those in need. I have rejoiced with others’ good fortunes and I have shared good news and good information to benefit others in ministry, all in 140 characters or less. Yes, Twitter takes time—but I can control how much time I spend on it. I think it is worth the investment.

Using Twitter for Ministry

Ministry that focuses on the person being served is good ministry. When you tweet as a service to others, you will have a positive  impact. Follow these simple guidelines: use your own voice, share content of value, reply to content that speaks to you, retweet the messages you find helpful, and thank people who retweet you. If you do these things, you will be effective and happy on Twitter.

Follow me on Twitter.

Please post your comments and questions about Twitter below. Thank you!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sr.Maureen January 17, 2011 at 9:34 am

This really sounds easy the way you explain things Sr. Susan. I am tempted to give it a try. Thanks for the incentive to begin something new.

Caroline Cerveny, SSJ-TOSF January 17, 2011 at 10:18 am

Thank you Sr. Susan! I too was once reluctant to use Twitter. However, I’ve learned that it is the interplay of a blog, Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools that communicates the “word” we want to share with one another. Once you are comfortable with one tool, it is time to move on to another!

Lisa Hendey January 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Thanks for raising the topic of Twitter – I love it! I find it great for prayer requests, for conversations with friends (although if I go more than one @ with someone, I try to take the conversation to DMs), for crowd sourcing, for staying up to date with the latest news and for gauging quick reactions to trends. When news hits, Twitter is often one of the first places I visit. I love using my lists on Twitter to help me stay organized with the flow of information.

Marc Cardaronella January 18, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Great primer Sr. Susan! I think we can use Twitter for ministry in many positive ways and we definitely will in the future. And, it’s good for venting frustration too. 😉

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