Twitter, as most of you know, is a micro-blog. Users are limited to 140 characters per tweet. People make brief comments on Twitter and often post shortened links to more content on the topic. Followers can reply to Tweets and /or retweet them to their own followers. The more replies and retweets you receive, the more influence you have on Twitter. Twitter also has a Direct Message feature where you can send a private message to one of your followers (if you also follow them). They in turn can privately tweet back to you.
Now you can also post photos and short videos to Twitter which you could not do when Twitter first started.
You can have a private Twitter account where you accept/approve followers or a public account where anyone can follow you. You can follow anyone you want and you can create lists or categories of those you follow which you can bring up quickly if you are looking for information on a specific topic.
Our most famous Catholic Tweeter is Pope Francis who has taken over @Pontifex from Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Francis (with assistance from his staff) tweets a message every few days. He is followed by nearly 3 million people in 8 languages. The Latin feed was added to the Pope’s account in January and it has over 100,000 followers.
Twitter is mobile and many breaking news and weather events appear on Twitter first as they are reported by people on the scene. Public figures often post announcements to their publics on Twitter.
Using #(known as the hashtage) in a tweet identifies a topic which can be followed and used by others. Searching for #chsocm on Twitter will bring up all the tweets that include that same hashtag which is also the handle and acronyn for Church Social Media which is used by Meredith Gould on Twitter and the title of her blog. It is also used every Tuesday night from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time by those participating in a “Tweetchat” on various topics related to church use of social media. The chat is ecumenical and fast moving. The transcripts from the weekly chat appear on the blog. If you want to participate in the Tweetchat, you need a Twitter account. For ease in following the chat and participating, you may want use one of these free Twitter tools: Twubs.com or Tweetdeck.com. They allow you to isolate the Tweets with #chsocm in it from all of the other Tweets coming in on your timeline.
I love Twitter—it is quick, easy and a great source of information for me. I follow national and church news agencies and experts in social media. I also Tweet out links to articles and blogs that I read, make comments on topics that are important to me or cheer on my favorite teams in 140 characters or less.
If you have not started using Twitter yet, check out this post that I made last summer. It outlines the steps for setting up your account. If you are on Twitter, please share your experience. If you are not on Twitter, please tell us what is holding you back. Thank you. You can follow me on Twitter @srsusan.
Graphic from DesignReviver