Get Started with Twitter

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on July 10, 2012

in Online Presence, social media

Twitter is a very useful tool for ministry and for professional development in ministry.  However, many ministers are afraid to get started.  If you are one of those who have been holding back, you are missing out on real time information that often you can use immediately and you are denying yourself a very simple communication tool.

Matthew Frattali, technology coordinator for the middle school of the Lab School in Washington, D.C., created the video below after he read a Washington Post article by Emma Brown on how teachers use Twitter for professional development. You can read the story here.  While the article is reporting about teacher development, it is easy to see how Twitter could also be used to enhance ministry.

This video will show (in about five minutes) busy professionals [including people in ministry] how to use Twitter to get smarter about whatever topic interests them. You won’t be tweeting at first! The first step is to find some smart people, scan their tweets, and follow those tweets to blogs and other sources that will make you smarter.

I would just add three points not stressed in the video.

  1. The name you choose for your Twitter name should be something that identifies you.  Don’t be clever, be transparent. For example, my Twitter name is @srsusan.
  2. Upload your current photo. People who do not upload a current photo or upload something silly are missing an opportunity for relationship building. I stop following people from my timeline who do not have a current photo. I wonder what are they hiding.
  3. Write a bio/description that really says who you are and what you are interested in.  You will need to be succinct because the space is limited–but this is your introduction to your potential followers. Be yourself.

Get started on Twitter this week and we will say more about using it for ministry next week.

If you have questions or concerns about Twitter, please share them below.  If you have good examples of using Twitter for ministry, please share those as well.  Thank you.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jonathan F. Sullivan July 10, 2012 at 10:40 am

I’m offering a free webinar on August 6th on just this topic — how to use new media for professional development as a catechetical leader. More information is at at

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND July 10, 2012 at 10:45 am

That’s great, Jonathan! Thanks for letting us know so that we can get the word out.

Don McCrabb July 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Very helpful intro to Twitter. It would be helpful to provide a link that shows how to embed Facebook and Twitter accounts on your webpage or emails – like you do under “share this” and at the top of your posting.

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND July 11, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I have only used WordPress for my websites and blogs, so I cannot speak for other software. WordPress has what they call “plug-ins” that can do just about anything. You do a search on their plugins i.e. social media and many options are given. You choose the one you like the best, download it and then configure it for your site.

For my first CWS site, I used a free WordPress template that was already configured with the social media icons on the top and I used “Sexy Bookmarks” plugin for the sharing icons on the posts. For this site, my web designer put the ones on top in and used Jetpack for WordPress for the ones on the posts.

When in doubt–put your question into Google or YouTube and you will probably find several answers–one of which will help you, i.e. How to add social media to website? Good luck!

If anyone else has better information, please share it. Thank you.

Susan Timoney July 12, 2012 at 8:43 am

At the Archdiocese of Washington, we have been really pleased with our use of Twitter, we have more than 2500 followers, some of whom are journalists. Two events in the last year were “trending” because we asked participants to tweet their experience while at the events. We find that in combination with Facebook, it has increased our reach tremendously.

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND July 12, 2012 at 8:51 am

Susan, that is an excellent example of using Twitter to enhance ministry and extend reach. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Sr. Angela Ann July 12, 2012 at 9:46 am

Love reading these ideas. It is amazing how this wide digital world is bringing us together! Sometimes I would like a bit more ‘contemplative time’ in my life (I think we all need it) but it is great to know we are connected.

By the way, have you folks been keeping up to speed on the new H+ YouTube series? The NYT’s article states: “The day has not yet arrived where people can have microchips installed in their bodies that connect them to the Internet, then go haywire and nearly annihilate the human race. But Bryan Singer is happy to hasten that future. He is producing the new Web series H+ which begins August 8th on Youtube created by John Cabrera and Cosimo De Tommaso – it tells the story in which millions of people have communications chips inserted in their bodies and are then wiped out by a virus attaching the chips!

Interesting! I still have my students write exams in class in long hand. They go kicking and screaming but I keep telling them…a day may come when a virus will hit all computers, the power will go out and the only way to communicate may be by writing a letter, a memo. You will be in demand! (Smile)

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND July 13, 2012 at 7:31 am

Dear Angela,
Thanks for your comments. It is great that we can be connected with people near and far. I will have to check out the YouTube series. As you for your students, glad to see that you are keeping the art of writing alive :).

Sister Pat Sylvester, SND July 5, 2013 at 8:07 am

I am definitely looking to sign on to Twitter. Thanks for the information and encouragement!

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND July 5, 2013 at 9:41 am

Glad to hear it, Pat. Looking forward to following you.

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