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!