Why I Decided to Start Using Twitter
Why blog? Why Twitter? Is there a good reason for these things? That is the question I’ve been asking myself for the past year or so. I’m not usually an “early adopter” of potentially harmful things. Rather, I like to study, to watch, to pray, and to consider. I like to let the dust settle and evaluate the positive side of a new form of communication or some new use of the internet.
A little over a year ago I started blogging—minimally. And six months ago I was introduced to Twitter—a form of micro-blogging if you will. I must admit, I didn’t get it and I didn’t see a point. So I waited and watched. Is it about ego? Is it about social-networking? Does it really have a point at all? I wanted to see more than just the “dark side” of all of these things. I do believe there is a bright side!
Well, after six months I decided to grab my wife by the hand and jump into Twittering. You might say it is sort of an experiment, but one with a purpose. After a week, I sat down yesterday and wrote out some thoughts about “why I twitter” and I wanted to share them. You might say these reasons apply to everything we do online—whether a blog, a website, or a twitter feed.
All of life is a stewardship—a gift from God, and God’s child should see himself and every level of his life as an offering—a living sacrifice to the Lord. Every word, every moment, every opportunity, and every deed should be lived out with a heart of surrender and submission to the God who gives us breath. With that in mind, here are the reasons I’m giving twittering a try:
Training and Example – This is perhaps one of my biggest reasons. One of my great burdens is for the next generation—especially my own kids. A long time ago I decided to live my life as positively and loudly as possible as a good example to those coming behind me. I want them to see a genuine walk with the Lord, love for family, commitment to ministry, and the deep joy that accompanies all these things.
Well, the internet and the world of social networking is killing our kids! They are becoming addicted to it and using it in all the wrong ways. They are getting sucked into all sorts of wickedness and perversion through things like “myspace.” They are wasting their lives with mindless web time and pointless chatter. While I could bury my head, make rules against it all, and pretend it isn’t happening—it is. And it isn’t going anywhere. We need spiritual leaders who will learn technology and then teach future leaders how to use it and how not to use it. Our young people need to see moderation, appropriateness, and strategic caution when it comes to these things.
I pray that God will use my blog and twitter feed as an example to others—a positive, God-honoring way of promoting truth and encouraging others.
Accountability – I have found after a week, that the few seconds a day that I might write something for twitter causes me to pause and review if I’m investing my life into that which is most valuable. The simple question “do I have anything worth saying publicly about this moment?” causes me to think more deeply and live more purposefully in every moment.
Encouragement – There are two types of people in the world—those who put things into you and those who take away from you—those who energize you and those who deplete you. I have always been passionate in asking the Lord to make me an encourager—an energizer. Sadly, I fail at this more than I care to admit, but I am still passionate about it. I want to encourage others. It is wired into me and into my calling. If posting 140 characters a few times a day could encourage someone, then count me in.
Prayer Support – We are living in a strange day and more than ever, Christians and those in ministry need to support each other in prayer. One thought I have with twittering is that perhaps my family and friends would follow it if only to be able to pray for me when I post about an afternoon of counseling or teaching. We all need the prayers of others as we seek to please the Lord and I would be grateful if my twitter would remind you to pray for me and my family.
Spiritual Edification—Again, if I can edify someone today by taking a few seconds to post a quote, a life lesson, or a simple truth, then I want to take that opportunity. I want my words to build, to teach, to strengthen, and to equip others to live for the Lord and serve Him better. I want all my words to be like “apples of gold… fitly spoken.” Hopefully this little post will be a small part of that ministry.
Savoring the Simple—I have found that posting little positive things on twitter causes me to notice and savor the simple yet profound things in my day that I might otherwise have missed.
Wise Use of Time—Twittering doesn’t take more than a few seconds, so it’s easy to find a dead moment—standing in line at a restaurant, waiting at a pharmacy, sitting at a red light—to post something encouraging to others. To think that I could take a lost minute and reclaim it by posting something that could possibly instantly benefit a group of people from any where on the planet—that’s a very cool thought!
Wise Use of Influence—Everybody has influence, and your influence is a stewardship. For me, a blog or twitter is simply about using whatever influence God gives me for His glory. It’s about wise stewardship and about being a good ambassador for Christ.
Keep in Touch With Friends and Family—I haven’t found Twitter to be the best way or even a great way to keep in touch, but it is “one way.” Maybe “keep track of” would be better phrasing. I can imagine how some might find it useful that way, but for me—a phone call or a personal email is still much better.
Communication Skills—This is a far lesser reason, but I have always taught my church communications class to “say what you want in as few words as possible.” Twitter really causes you to edit your message to the most important 140 characters! I like that challenge—to say something worthwhile in 140 characters or less. It’s been fun to work at it.
Well, let me wrap this up with a few things that twittering and blogging is NOT:
It’s not about Idle Time—I don’t believe we should be sitting around with nothing to do… so, oh well, let’s just twitter! Twitter doesn’t take a lot of time, but it certainly could if you let it.
It’s not about Self-Absorption—at first twitter just seemed stupid or silly to me—but that’s because I was reading the wrong posts. Why do I care that someone is toasting a pop-tart or mixing cool-aid? Well, I don’t think that should be the point of it. For me, it won’t be.
It’s not about Mindless Posting or Rambling—For six months I read some of the dumbest things on twitter. I just didn’t get it. Why take the time to log on and post words that have no point whatsoever? We will all give account to the Lord for every word!
It’s not about Fascination with Technology—I know some people who are like Mogley from the Jungle Book. He was raised by wolves. They were raised by social networking. Their family, the world-view, their whole life and identity is “the internet.” I know many others whose fascination with technology has replaced real-world relationships. Their marriage and kids suffer while they are up late twittering, blogging, networking, and who knows what else! Let’s move past the addiction and use these things to enhance real relationships and to uplift God’s truth.
These technologies should be peripheral to our lives, not central. God still loves people and desires our lives to be invested into real, healthy, and growing relationships. May God enable us to be in balance—to use technology for His glory and the edification of people He loves.
I’m sure there are other reasons one might use twittering or blogging, but for me, this sums it up. I hope it helps you think through your use of technology as well. Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts.
Matthew 12:36, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”
1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”