A bit of a book review of Tweeting Church
I just finished Paul Alan Clifford‘s book, Tweeting Church. I read it, not because I hope to establish a significant presence in the twit-o-sphere (is that a word?), but because I am always interested in how technology can engage people — especially regarding Christian faith.
Here are some of the things I learned from the book:
Twitter is not about phones.
When I first signed up for Twitter, I had everything going to my phone. Wow — how annoying. Even following the re-enactment of the first Apollo Moon Landing was too intrusive for me — and I was at camp! And I love revisiting those Apollo missions.
As Clifford wrote about his interaction on Twitter, I realized that lots of it takes place through his computer. When I set up an account with hootsuite, I realized how easy it was to browse tweets on it.
Twitter is a great way to get news.
Clifford talks about getting information through Twitter. As a result, I subscribe to slashdot’s twitter feed and get tech news now. I loved knowing that Kindle was sold out today before my son (who is into tech more deeply than I could ever be) knew.
Twitter is a great way to discover new resources.
Because Clifford is into tech in the church, many of his tweets point you to links that are helpful. He’s not the only one doing this, naturally. So following him and some of the people he follows provides ongoing tech education.
Twitter is a good way to connect.
In fact, Clifford says that Twitter is about relationships. Since I figured out how to use the @ and DM features, I see what he means! *duh*
I needed to follow people on Twitter.
Early on, when using Twitter, I was cautious about who to follow. I didn’t want a load of messages flooding my feed. But that’s because I was following the wrong kind of people — namely some friends who had nothing significant to post, i.e. “I just saw a blue bird!” Reading about the kinds of people Clifford follows, I realized that I needed to follow people who would bring value to my life — people who would challenge me to grow spiritually, professionally. and academically.
One area I want to grow in is that of photography. So I thought I would follow the guys at Luminous Landscapes, but they haven’t updated their Twitter feed in a while. However, when I followed them, Twitter suggested this guy: https://twitter.com/ClydeButcher . I started following him and saw some pretty neat images.
Some “celebrities” are worth following.
Being a science fiction fan, Clifford follows @SyFy. I think that’s because he likes the news he gets from Craig Engler and he likes how Engler represents the network. It’s a model worth emulating. I follow Ryan Clark of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I follow him because he is a Steeler who has a great attitude about God, life, his family, people, and … oh yeah, football. Reading this morning that Clark is babysitting seven little girls while the mom’s go shopping made me feel good about the world. Since I enjoy hockey, I also subscribe to the Pens.
The main problem for me regarding Twitter is that I live in rural Pennsylvania where people are not “early-adopters”. You might classify us as “late-adopters” until you get to know us, then you realize many of us are “never-adopters.” This applies to changes in everything from worship to facebook. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read, “Awk! I’ve been Timelined! OH NO!!!”). We are one of those sociological groups, who by our nature, resist new philosophies, ideas, and technologies. I say “we” because I grew up here, but I have worked hard to overcome this tendency in my own life. Helping others overcome it so they can use Twitter is not a place I will spend much energy.
However, there are people — even in my neighborhood — who are using Twitter. So for them, I tweet, both as Curwensville Alliance Church and as ShieldsGroup.
I recommend Tweeting Church. It’s well organized and helpful, whether you’re just starting or working to build a following.
Oh — here’s my twitter feed, if you want to follow:
Thanks so much for the kind words. That’s why I wrote “Tweeting Church,” to help people in churches all over the world get the message out.